I am a bit lost at the moment. I found this forum, and I thought that maybe some of you could offer me some advice.
I finished my PhD in Biology in 2018. Since then, I've worked as a laboratory technician two times. I have also applied for several postdoctoral positions, but they haven't contacted me after the interview. After so many years, maybe it's a bit too late for me to do a postdoc.
I am now seriously considering quitting my current job as a laboratory technician in a school. Not only is the salary low, but I have to do a lot of chores that have nothing to do with my job (printing, cleaning the floor, booking trips...).
I have no relationship with my thesis supervisors nor PhD colleagues. I contacted once a university from Denmark where I spent three months during the PhD, but they told me they wouldn't hire me unless I got a Marie Curie grant.
I only have three publications and no postdoctoral research experience, so I think that there is no point in applying for a grant because you have to be so brilliant to get one.
When it comes to offers, I search in this page and also in "academic positions". Do you know other similar pages where I can find postdoctoral positions?
This may be hard to swallow, but you have totally missed the boat. Usually the first postdoc is obtained immediately after the PhD with help from the PhD supervisor. You have no relationship with your supervisor or colleagues, so essentially no reference. You have worked as a lab technician in a school for the last 4 years, not producing any publication or getting any grant during that time. Usually, mid career is 5 years post PhD, so you are nearly at the mid career stage already. I am sorry, but you are not competitive at all for any future grant or academic position.
Could you try exploring other non-academic options? There will be something for you, even if it's not in academia
That seems a bit defeatist to me. Couldn't you try reconnecting with your former colleagues? Drop them an email and explain. They might have something for you. Are there research projects you can get involved in? Why not just skip the post doc and look for lecturer jobs? Go and work in an FE college, then try and work your way into HE.
I'm in a different subject area admittedly. But persistence pays off. Colleagues openly laughed at me when I said I wanted to be an academic, and I only had a masters. But I'd worked with universities and had research ideas. Took a chance on a short term contract and turned it into something better through hard work. Do some blogging about your subject, try and get your name out there
I think that the others are probably right that you have missed the boat for a post-doc, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is no hope. Post-docs are specifically looking for people who are fresh out of their PhD (or another post-doc), and both post-docs and academic positions are competitive, so you need to be already running to be attractive to them e.g. recent experience, strong references, recent publications and/or ongoing research, etc.
I can't speak for biology, but at least in my field, there are always other research positions (government, independent research groups, private companies, etc.) that are not as specific about having someone immediately from their studies with publications - indeed, sometimes being outside of academia can be a benefit if you can sell the other skills you have obtained in that time well. If you find one of these jobs, you can at least break back into your area of study and start re-developing those contacts and skills which you can use to build on it. It is not a quick fix, but sometimes the slow road is the better one in the long term.
I think a lot of people saying this is catastrophic are towing the typical line that an academic career needs to be 'perfect' to be successful.
Don't get me wrong; it will be hard if your pitch at interview is 'and I've just stopped researching to work in a school'. But I'd think many academics would be sympathetic if it's along the lines of 'I needed to support myself/my family/etc, but in the meantime I've been reading x, y and z, and have a really strong interest in proposing...'.
That said, the grass is not always greener. Academia does a trick of making you think arbitrary milestones (Iike getting a postdoc) are significant achievements, when in fact you may be more fulfilled (and certainly richer) in industry. I think you can get more from your PhD than you have done, and it sounds like you want to, so you owe it to yourself to try. If the goal is to return to academia, you should be spending the time between writing applications on revising and learning the field. If your goal is simply a more prestigious, well-paid role, you'd probably do well to look towards industry.
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