I’ve been job hunting full-time now for almost 4 months. I’m not going to lie, it’s been pretty tough. Even considering that I’ve probably averaged over one job application per day, I’ve only had real interviews for 2 positions. While I’m pretty excited about those options, I’m still really nervous about whether or not they’ll pan out, and if I’ll need to manage 3 more months of applications before racking up any more interviews.
Two weeks ago, the American Society for Cell Biology released an infographic illustrating the career path typically taken by Biology PhDs. The data was based on surveys of bio post-grads and only reinforced my goal of trying to get started on my career path without getting stuck in the post-doc loop. While I can appreciate the new skills and benefits a post-doctoral position would impart, I feel like it’s 2+ years of consolidating my scientific knowledge even further, and I’m not sure if such a narrow scientific focus will really help me get where I eventually want to be long term. Doesn’t it make more sense to join a company or organization and focus my knowledge further there on what they do, rather than on something that might not be as directly related to company goals beforehand as a postdoc? It’s a tough call, especially since I’m pretty sure I’m competing against post-docs who have given up on trying for those rare academic and other typical research positions, and are going after my “dream jobs” as a second choice.
I’m definitely proud I’m one of the 63% who finished my PhD, and that I finished in five and a half years, instead of the average of 7-ish. I’m still hoping that I can be one of the 30% to proceed to my career path without a post-doc, but I’ll probably start writing letters to PIs in June if I haven’t heard anything promising before then. I know there are definitely labs nearby that are doing exciting work, so with any luck, finding something I’ll love doing for the next few years will happen, whether it’s a post-doc or what I like to call a “real” job!