Need a job, almost any job will do
April 1, 2014 1:27 PM Subscribe
As I near my 3rd and final year of my postdoc grant, it has become time to fish or cut bait. But I'm horrible about making decisions, but yet, don't have time to do it all. Can you help me sort out my future employment plans? Part of this may involve simply assuring me that leaving academia is the way to go. Or not.
posted by katers890 to Work & Money (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I am currently a postdoc in a cognitive science/psychology/neuroscience field. And I like it. I like doing research, I like teaching, I like the flexible scheduling, but I don't like the stress of applying for grants, nor do I particularly think it is something I am good at. Unfortunately, it seems that life at R1 institutions pretty much revolves around getting grants, and the research I do doesn't fit well into more liberal arts universities (MRI machines are expensive to use if there is even one available). Moreover, I look around at my fellow lab mates (caveat, at Harvard so this could be a skewed sample) and I just do not have the drive to spend the time and effort most of them do on their work. I like doing a good job, I pull late hours when I need to, but I value my time with family and friends and I have no interest of working 60-80 hours weeks until I get tenure. So I've been questioning where I go from here. I've looked over previous leaving academia questions, but still feel unsure of what to do.
I've spent a bunch of time with a career counselor here, and we've lined up some ideas of non-academic jobs that I may be good at (including data scientist, science outreach, work in teaching centers at universities (training grad students and faculty how to be better teachers), etc), but I'm not 100% enthused about anything. I actually send out a CV to someone today and now am racked with anxiety that I haven't even tried to look for academic jobs and maybe I'm giving up too easily. But I'm having trouble finding time to do my actual current work and maintain any sort of family life, so I'm also overwhelmed at putting together all the stuff needed to apply for those, especially on top of trying to put together stuff that would make me credible for any of the non-academic jobs.
Sorry, this is rambly, the TLDR is, should I commit to leaving academia given my concerns over my ability to be successful? Should I try to apply to both academia and non-academia jobs and just make up the time somewhere? Or how can I be comfortable with leaving what I've essentially been working towards for a large chunk of my life now?