Dr. Marlieke van Kesteren is a Neuroscientist with a pretty impressive CV. She discusses science and life on Twitter and in various blog posts. This one is particularly relevant looking at the academic job market, so Marlieke kindly allowed us to share it on this blog.
If you decide to do a postdoc, do everything you can to do it right from the get-go! Watch what Sho (Cogtales) and Franziska (Ph_Dial) have to say ❤
Doing a postdoc can be a fantastic experience. In the last session of ACL, I talked with Sho Tsuji from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris who – just as me – is a very happy postdoc.
The most important thing is to find lab in which you can grow and have a PI that will be a great mentor not only for now, but for the rest of your career. Do a careful screening of whom you want to work with and try to get to know them and people who worked with them (or still do!). Be open-minded and use your network to find out about labs, job search specifics or grant opportunities in individual countries, and personal recommendations.
You will get the most out of your postdoc if you know what you want to get out of it. Make this guide you to what kind of project or lab…
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I started thinking about writing this blog entry when I first read about the speakyourstory initiative in this insightful Nature column a few months ago. This initiative raises awareness of microagression in the form of subtle sexism in the world of research. Subtle sexism is often less obvious both to its initiators and recipients than overt sexism, but can nevertheless be quite harmful – or I should say could be harmful, since we know amazingly little about its real effects. Microagressive comments are, of course, not restricted to sexism, but to an abundance of topics people can be – often unintentionally – biased about (read more here or here).
We PhD students and postdocs frequently move around the world, often in 2- to 3-year intervals. That is wonderful, people say, and I would not disagree. But we also have to face personal, psychological, administrative, financial, or professional obstacles each time we fly into a new life.
I’ve moved to three new countries so far. And I am currently in the process of moving to the fourth, namely from my first postdoc in Paris to my second in Philadelphia. So I’m taking the opportunity to share my experiences, starting with a story that Kafka would probably be proud of. It’s the story of how the post’s loss of my visa and passport resulted in me still eating baguette instead of burgers (and it’s developing into a personal, psychological, administrative, financial, AND professional obstacle, despite the fact that being forced to continue drinking wine in sunny Paris is not the worst fate in the world).