November 28, 2006

Postdoc Hell: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Postdoc Hell? "Please dispose thoughtfully of your used postdocs"Sometimes, being a PostDoctoral researcher is a tough life. Thankfully, help is at hand in Philip Bourne and Iddo Friedberg‘s guide Ten Simple Rules for Selecting a Post-Doctoral Position published in PLOS Computational Biology. This article is part of a series of editorials [1,2,3] which discuss various aspects of the weird and wonderful world of scientific research. They are worth reading if you’re at an early stage of your career, although you may not always agree with all the advice given. For example, the article advises PostDocs to:

Think very carefully before extending your graduate work into a postdoc in the same laboratory where you are now – to some professionals this raises a red flag when they look at your resume. Almost never does it maximise your gain of knowledge and experience, but that can be offset by rapid and important publications.

Do any experienced postdocs (or post-postdocs) out there have an opinions on the importance of moving labs after a PhD? What if you’re already in a great lab and like where you work? To what extent is it important to move, just to get new experience and skills? Or as The Clash once put it [4]:

♫ If I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double.
So come on and let me know, should I cool it or should I blow? ♫


  1. Phillip Bourne (2006) Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published PLOS Computational Biology
  2. Phillip Bourne and Leo Chalupa (2006) Ten Simple Rules for Getting Grants PLOS Computational Biology
  3. Phillip Bourne and Alon Korngreen (2006) Ten Simple Rules for Reviewers PLOS Computational Biology
  4. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones (1981) Should I stay or should I go?
  5. Jawahar Swaminathan (2006) A ten step plan for PostDoc training nodalpoint.org
  6. this post originally on nodalpoint with comments
  7. Postdoc Hell, a collection of articles describing the plight of the postdoctoral researcher on citeulike

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update: Mysteriously, Nature jobs used the Clash as a theme to their careers supplement, two weeks after this post was published. See How to ask yourself questions about major career decisions and Should I Stay Or Should I Go?. Coincidence? I wonder if they read nodalpoint?

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