Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Should I stay or should I go?

I want to decide whether to stick with my current postdoc for the entire year, or to go to a postdoc abroad --- see previous post for details.

Lists are reductionist, but let's see what I can do.

The 3 major things I need to do this year, professionally.

1. Revise dissertation and defend. Under control at this point.

2. Finish and submit 3-5 papers, including ones from dissertation. (b) Start new projects to solidify research agenda.

3. Job search.

The real question is which position will leave me in the best position to accomplish these three things, and the subgoals necessary to accomplish them (e.g., improving my work habits.) Since the first is under control, the major questions are about 2 and 3. If I had to choose only one of the two to do, the research pipeline is clearly most important: if I have research flowing, finding a job will be easier and maybe even more efficient (apply to fewer jobs that I'm better qualified for).

The postdoc abroad is far better than my current postdoc at helping me with my research agenda. I can renew the postdoc abroad to be a total of 2 years if I need to. And I can suck up the extra travel costs associated with the job search. As long as I keep my spirits up and my goals in perspective, I can make it work. My current postdoc is not an area that I have substantial future research interests in, I feel like they're using me, and I have not risen even to the level of liking the work in the time that I've been working there. The postdoc abroad has a research agenda that we planned, and gives me time on my own to do my own work.

Wow, that was an easier decision than I expected. At least, the binary decision looking only at professional goals. There could still exist a research job which dominates the postdoc abroad by being in this country (easier for job search) and gives me time on my own to work, but I'm not likely to find one.

Personally, of course I want to date people where there's a future, and living abroad makes that harder, perhaps. That's really an unknown.


Chicago Man said...


Your dear reader is here. I would strongly suggest you take the job abroad. Of course, I don't know where it is or all the details surrounding it, but if it involves doing the research you enjoy you should take it. I suppose it's not in good old England. That would be convenient for ease of communication. Is it in France, Germany, or another country that you lack the requisite language skills? Unless you speak the relevant language it could be an isolating experience. I'm assuming you will not be surrounded by numerous English speakers. In my view, you should take the job abroad (all things being equal), polish some pieces from the diss. to publish, and defend the disser. You definitely need to defend, but this becomes less pressing if you get the postdoc.

Also, dating. Again, I don't know you so this is a bit of speculation. Is dating and marriage high on your agenda? Is it secondary to you? Are you simply interested in dating for fun and good times, or are you looking for a husband? If the former, go abroad, date, but focus on your work. I say this because you have no intention (as far as you know) to get seriously involved with someone over the next few years. On the other hand, if you are interested in a long term relationship and you are restricting your candidate pool to Ivy gentlemen in America, then you should consider what is most important to you from that perspective. If your personal life trumps your professional one, then you ought to stay put, especially since you already have a postdoc (even if it sucks a bit). Be that as it may, i think the latter situation is not applicable to you, but again i'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

I say go with the post-doc abroad. Your current position has been one let down after another, and frankly I'm unsure how it has helped you professionally or personally.

Just the fact that they cut your salary without explaining that it would happen makes me feel like you owe them nothing.

Tingel said...

The choice didn't seem that hard even after your previous posts... Moreover, as you give the impression that you're trying to optimize everything in your life - I mean, taking far future into account when deciding to live abroad only for a while, or thinking about possible marriage about a relationship that only and hardly started... well, a bit of unforeseen consequences couldn't hurt, could they ?
Ok I know the answer : yes, they could. But sometimes you just gotta jump... especially when all seems better ahead.
Good luck anyway.