Another post-doc: yay or nay?

Jul 24 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Yesterday, this question was asked on twitter (yes, I suck at embedding tweets here...):

From @starvingPhD

@GenomeDaddy (Another) postdoc: yay or nay? I guess that's basically where I'm at now.

My answer was that a second (or third perhaps) post-doc can be a good things. In my opinion, there are several reasons why you want to do another post-doc: the best reason I think is to learn another technique in order to be able to independently conduct the kind of research that you are interested in. Another reason for a second post-doc is to switch labs to somewhere better than where you were initially. And of course, doing another post-doc might be necessary, for example if your current lab doesn't have funding anymore, closes down, or when you're part of a two-body situation. Because I understand very well that doing another post-doc is always better than having no job at all. In that case, it is important to find a lab where you do not have to take a step back in autonomy, as I found that to be a very frustrating situation.

3 responses so far

  • Dr. Noncoding Arenay says:

    I am in my second post doc now. The first postdoc which lasted 18 months was in my PhD lab. I wanted to develop a new direction of research within my overall area and my grad PI was kind enough to indulge me. I took that new data, presented at a conference and got a couple of postdoc offers in top rated institutions. I accepted one of those offers and my second post doc is in the new direction that I am super excited about. So, for me the second post doc is awesome. Its teaching me new things and I'm happy to be building my pub record in this area.

    To answer that question - it depends on why you are going for a second postdoc. Is it voluntary or because you have no other choice? Is is to develop into a new direction? Is it because of a two-body problem? etc... The answer can vary widely based on that.

  • I wouldn't consider spending additional time in the graduate mentor's lab a "post-doc".

    • Dr. Noncoding Arenay says:

      Try telling NIH that.

      I've had a good number of friends/colleagues do that after graduating and when you move on it is universally accepted as postdoc experience. I think if it is in a new direction for you or even for the lab itself and if you are training in methodologies different from you grad work, then it can certainly be considered as postdoc experience. But yes, I wouldn't recommend that folks linger in their grad PI's lab for their entire postdoc for obvious reasons.

Leave a Reply