Post-doc Chat


About time we have a place for ourselves away from those whinging, depressed PhD students! :p (up)


Right on Cleverclogs!

I beginning to wonder if I was ever that depressed. It's truely amazing how time heals; the longer I stay away from my previous supervisor the happier I become.

Although I suspect that the fact I'm pulling in lovely pieces of eight once a month has something to do with it too. Also, I am no longer working in the scientific equivalent of a shed, which is nice.


I have finished my PhD now, but with no job yet, so I was wondering

how is life then as a postdoc, how different it is from PhD? is it as difficult as the PhD? what are the difficulties, the responsibilities ...etc, let us share :-x8-)


Well, the biggest difference I've found is that it's a lot like what I remember real work to be like!

By that I mean, I am treated as an equal, my ideas are listened to and discussed in a rational manner, and I feel like I can make a difference in the work I do. Glad I stuck on in there with the Ph.D.

Avatar for sneaks

aw clogs, I kinda missed you!


Best things about being a post doc: getting invited to give seminars at other universities; being treated as an equal by other staff members; getting travel expenses paid without having to beg and grovel; opportunities that I never had as a student e.g. contributing journalism to industry magazines; getting to work on something other than my PhD!

Worst things: having to try and write some publications from my thesis in my spare time because current employers not very sympathetic to that; loss of lovely shared student office and now in manky open-plan where nobody ever speaks, let alone offers to make the tea; a lot of pressure to be constantly looking for the next job (I'm only on a 1 year contract) and the next funding application.

I think the hardest thing for me has been that when I passed my viva I felt like the thesis was finished and never wanted to see it again. trying to publish from it now is like getting blood from a stone - I am just so bored of it all and can't muster much enthusiasm for it, even though I know that publications are essential to getting a longer term, better paid job.


I hate my post doc! I miss my friends and I miss the momentum I had towards the end of my PhD - things were rolling along great, publications were flying out and I was relatively happy and felt like I knew what I was doing/ talking about, Now I am in a different department (same uni) but it is worlds apart and I have changed fields drastically to a more molecular but also behavioural project - but I just don't have the same level of motivation for it. I don't want to read papers at night and on the weekends and I can't come up with amazing concepts and questions - and I am suffering because I am not putting my ALL in. I don't think this is the career for me -but really stuck as to what else I would do. I am sure I won't ever be a PI so, maybe I should give up now before I wreck my health.. ok, sorry to be so negative... having a bad day :-(


I've quite enjoyed my postdoc (ends this summer). It's kind of strange though when you don't have a supervisor any more. Sort of like riding a bike without stabilisers for the first time. And I feel like I'm neither one thing or another; no longer a student but not really a member of staff. I've enjoyed being able to follow up avenues that I couldn't in my PhD and got some publications out. And I got to go to some nice places for conferences.
I think the biggest shock though was finding out just how competitive the academic job market is, how overworked particularly the younger lecturers are, and how unbelievably rubbish and entitled a decent proportion of undergrad and postgrad students really are. How did I not notice that academia wasn't exactly stress-free when I was doing my PhD???? I suppose I just bought into the whole 'the PhD is the hardest thing you'll ever do' and 'academics have nice lives' myth without really thinking about it. I only hope I wasn't as much of a nightmare to supervise as some of the PhD students at this place clearly are...


Aw, Sneaks the feeling's mutual (kinda)! :p

I've been a postdoc for a few weeks now and the main difference is the paycheque -- haha! Ok so things are mostly the same, though I find I'm expected to take more initiative in getting things done. I don't miss my supervisors and sure as heck don't miss writing the thesis, but I do miss the leniency when things don't go to plan!


For me

Pros: Better pay (than a PhD stipend I am talking), more autonomy, having more of a say in the way the lab is run, more conferences, chance to co-author with your own PhDers. Better desk and mini cubicle.

Cons: Far more stress, job insecurity (thank you to whoever thought of 3 year contracts!), late nights at the lab, having to cover for absent PI all the damn time, more responsibility, dealing with insecure PhDers who want their hands holding, having to sort out one instance of serious academic misconduct in my lab with little or no back up support,