Looming unemployment

26-Mar-12, 17:58
edited about 23 seconds later
by drDan79
Avatar for drDan79
posted about 8 years ago
So my current postdoc will be coming to an end in a month. This was completely my decision and I hope that I made the right one because I do not have a job lined up yet. I took my current job primarily because my wife got a good Assistant Professor job out on the east coast. I stayed back in the midwest for 1 year to finish some projects in my previous postdoc, but eventually the commuter marriage got to be too much so I decided to resign my position and take the new job to be closer to my wife.
The new job was a disaster almost from the start. Essentially, I think my current PI really wanted a technician/secretary more than she wanted a postdoc. I'm treated as more of a personal assistant than a postdoc. Most of the time I can't even run my own projects because I get called to stop what I'm doing and help her format her grants/collaborators papers, redo figures, correct english, make endnote libraries, add in her references for her grants, prep her lectures and presentations, etc... My other main job has been to write papers for about 5 years worth of projects that haven't been communicated. Regarding the latter, I've been really productive and have written 12 papers in less than 1 year. Unfortunately, once I give them to her to her, they just sit in her computer and metaphorically collect dust either by her not having the time to add her part or her collaborators not having an interest to add their sections. While I have done some experiments, most of them have been simple and at the request of collaborators. As such, I haven't developed my own project and am essentially just a lab tech. On top of everything else, she's condesending, arrogant, rude, and simply can't or won't listen to anyone's ideas other than her own. It's really no surprise that I'm the only one left in her lab as she loses a postdoc on average about every 6 months. Remarkably, she's managed to bring in grants and get tenure even though she's treated her employees like a disposeable resource.
Finally, enough was enough and I turned in my resignation to which she responded by breaking down in tears (long story). To be nice since I was the only one in lab, I gave her 2 months to replace me. Now, I'm down to my last 4-5 weeks and it is REALLY painful to be here. Rather than concentrate on getting the papers out that we've already written, I've been tasked with writing an additional 4-5 manuscripts before I go. I'm reasonably good at writing, but I don't think anyone could write a manuscript a week especially on diverse topics that they know little about! Anyway, just thought I'd come on to vent. My wife's been real supportive and truthfully, I'm looking forward to the time off to recover from this nightmare. If I have one regret, it's that she'll be able to do this to another postdoc who walks in. Considering writing to postdoctoral affairs because this woman shouldn't be allowed to treat postdocs like this. On the otherhand, I might just leave and just be glad to be done.
27-Mar-12, 08:38
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 27 Mar 2012 08:38:26 =======
I've been there DrDan with my own second post-doc. I am tempted to say 'stay in the position if possible, because it's easier to find work if you're in work'.

However, I couldn't wait to escape the situation I was in (man management issues) and I can see you feel the same. I'll thus say best of luck and make sure you have a reference when you leave (I left without, the breakdown in relations was that bad), as that will make life a lot easier in finding something new.

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)
28-Mar-12, 08:40
edited about 24 seconds later
by qaz12
Avatar for qaz12
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 28 Mar 2012 09:03:58 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============
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29-May-12, 13:39
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for jenstallon
posted about 8 years ago
It is very difficult to find work when you are out of it. So stay where you are and keep trying. It is difficult to have patience, but you need to just hold it and all will fall in place. Your case is really sad and I am sure your strong and will face it well. Good luck.
18-Aug-12, 22:34
edited about 4 seconds later
by Doodles
Avatar for Doodles
posted about 8 years ago
So what has happened? Did you leave the post and have you been able to find something new? Good luck with that and I hope you have.

I would agree that you should write to postdoctoral affairs as this woman shouldn't be able to treat postdocs like that. If no one complains it gets swept under the carpet - you know what academia is like. If she is going through postdocs like that something should be done. As long as she brings in the grants no one will care about her quick staff turnover. I wonder how she does it - is she really good at writing grants or has big ideas? That would be something to learn! In return she needs to learn about treating staff properly!

Keep us updated.
01-Sep-12, 15:39
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for matthewsarabadu
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 03 Sep 2012 15:17:40 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============
I'm curious after reading this too, did you find a good position elsewhere?

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