So I managed to land a post-phd job (not a postdoc, mind) in a lab in the States - the only job offer I got, which is why I took it, thinking at least this will give me something to put on my CV, some time to finish writing up and the added bonus of getting a year abroad in the States.
As I'm getting closer and closer to moving, I am getting more and more concerned. To start off with, my prospective boss seemed to neither get my nor my supervisors emails - a fact which put me in a really awkward position, with my supervisors being livid about having to hang around for hours waiting for her to call them on skype for a reference at a pre-agreed time, and her not calling...
She claimed never to have received their emails and kind of hinted she thought I was trying to get away with not giving references...so that was awkward.
The job is not very well paid, and the University isn't well known or prestigious. I am fine with both, but my prospective boss kept saying about how I'd have to have a car etc which is obviously not going to be feasible for various reasons (no contribution towards moving costs means I am going to be skint, zero credit rating means I wouldn't be able to buy a car/insure it, have to get a US licence before I can even think about buying a car etc). There has also been zero help with finding a temporary living arrangement, which has meant I have had to book a hostel for 6 nights (maximum stay!) and hope that I will be able to find a room in shared accommodation within that amount of time. I don't think I'd be able to rent a place of my own/register utility bills in my name wihtou a hefty deposit.
The university is super unhelpful - contacted housing/international adviser and both zilch results. Does anyone have any advice? Am I overthinking it?
Hmmm...there is a over-thinking and there is naivete at the other end of that spectrum. I think you are being "situationally aware", which is how I tend to approach things as a somewhat observant person.
Everything you mentioned would cause me to go "hmm" from your Boss's incompetence and subtle insinuations to their complete lack of understanding about the costs you are being asked to incur. But if it is a legit offer and you think it is of benefit to you, push past the shady stuff.
I had a colleague move to DC for internship under similar circumstances and I passed her these links below. You may have to share a place with somone(s) until you get your bearings and have a good idea about what you can and cannot do on your budget. Above all through, trust your gut about this post.
Why the car? Is the post an 'essential car user post'? If they're saying you need a car to do the job but you can't get a car then you need to get to the bottom of this. Yes all you mentioned would ring alarm bells as to what the organisation is actually like to work for.
Well the PI of the lab said in the interview I would have to 'recruit people from the community', and she seemed to think it requires a car. I was hoping she might be wrong about this - when I was in America the first time round, I realized that while pedestrians/cyclists aren't well catered for in most places, it is manageable to negotiate most places without a car. It's just that I guess they have a different mindset over there as it is very common to have a car. I just don't think the PI is aware of the fact that it is a hassle for Europeans without a credit history in the States to do stuff like get insurance etc, usually they make you pay exorbitant deposits up front.
I don't think I'm being particularly negative - I'm just trying to be more careful. The first time I went to the States, I was really young, inexperienced and naive and ended up living with an ex-convict in kind of miserable circumstances...so don't want a repeat of that, under any circumstances.
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest