I haven't posted for ages on here as it made me too anxious while I was writing up, but a quick update - I was gathering data and thought I had a post-doc lined up at the place where I have worked for 16 years, and just as I was getting ready to write up in August, found out that the post-doc most likely fell through and any chance of being able to get it relied on finishing write up by the end of September, so the mad rush was on and I defend Thursday! All wonderful, but the downside is my current funding for this position runs out December1, so I could graduate without a job, never the option I intended. I have been applying for everything that remotely is in my field, wherever in the U.S. although that is a hardship given uprooting my kids and the hard time it would be selling the house and my husband finding a job, plus most don't start until next academic year. I still have a shot at the post-doc, but if I do get it the pay scale is about 30% less than originally anticipated!! and than I make now. I just got offered a federal job that pays pretty well and is quite secure - but really out of my field. So here I am at a crossroads, albeit happier than expected a month ago - stay in my field (cancer research/health disparities) but take a huge paycut and struggle financially - which is a big problem with 2 kids, mortgage, horrendous economy and unsure future of better funding - but I get to stay on track - or go into new territory (healthcare qualitative researcher for federal gov/t) with great benefits/pay/stability, room for growth and challenge for myself, but veering way off of comfort zone and research ideas? A lot of mom guilt going on..I've put the family through a lot and the thought of more years of no pay is not good (I'm the main breadwinner) but I don't want to make it just a money thing...I could use some objective input. Thanks!
There's not really enough info - and couldn't be probably because it really depends on how hard you would struggle financially. Sit down and do the budget - is it actually managable or not? If it is, and it's what you prefer, then it's just up to your preferences. If you really think you won't be able to manage (i.e. cannot cover the basics) on the pay cut that's a different matter. Selling a house right now is grim too (we just did it in Jan and had to lower the price). Also for me, would depend how old your kids are. Once they get to 11, I would prefer not to move them unless I was going to a permanent post - not just for 2 -3 years which is tough at that age (I have one child, 3).
Thanks for the replies. I've done a lot of thinking - and defending, I'm now official! - and finally spoke with my mentor/manager about this. While my main interest may be cancer research, the reality is there is not as much funding these days in my area (behavioral science/qual) and clearly qualitative research is not valued at the institution where I am; funding for all post-docs remotely in my area at my institution all fell through except for the one I was promised, so now we're all competing for one post-doc, and the institution is favoring the spouse of a biostats prof they are trying to woo into the department who needs the post-doc to seal the deal. Any other post-doc in the country is very competetive because of cut funding and they all pay awful, though at least here a move wouldn't be thrown into the mix. My kids are not little (8 and 12) nor am I young (42) and as a previous poster mentioned that makes a huge difference, I don't really want to uproot for a 1-2 post-doc somewhere and then again for a job after, and most academic jobs also require uprooting and don't start until next summer. The research position may be out of my research field (and comfort zone) but its about adapting these skill sets to any health topic;it is well funded, ridiculously well funded really, and gets me in the door of the federal government with many other well paying research opportunities, they also offered a paid fellowship for their research; benefits and pay are great and no move involved, and the research is completely translational, its a living lab with quant/qual/clinical research under one roof, very, very cool. As my manager pointed out, I'll still be publishing 3-4 papers out of my dissertation over the next year so I'll have a record of publishing in the field, I'll get a fellowship and hone some great qualitative skills on the job in an environment that values it with the opportunity to come back to cancer research or move to other fed jobs as the chances arise. . Plus, lets face it; no ones knocking on my door, and I have a family and not getting any younger, so I think I'm accepting today. Thanks again, it helps to get feedback.:p
Well, it does sound like a good move, and as your kids are not so young, you could change direction once they are out of high school. I am actually even older :p and have the opposite problem. We depend on my dh's job so I can't move for a postdoc and fear i may not get one at all. Postdocs in my field are paid peanuts so we can't move for my job.
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