Are these signs of a toxic postdoc relationship?

posted
03-Nov-18, 17:46
edited about 1 minute later
by cypress
Avatar for cypress
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi there!

I'm looking for outside impressions on the mess I've presently gotten myself into.

I received a job posting that looked like it would make a really interesting postdoc (I'm at the end of my PhD), so I contacted the project manager and we started collaborating on the postdoc app with another academic. I applied for the job and was interviewed, and then applied for the postdoc. I set it up so that the work I'd do if hired would be the first phase of a 3 phase research project, and my proposed postdoc would complete the last 2 phases. It would have been 4 years worth of steady work for me. Unfortunately, yesterday I was notified that I wasn't hired for the job.

I have a gut feeling that this is a sign that the agency is not supportive of my postdoc, but honestly considering my previous experiences in academia I don't know what to think. So I'm asking for your impressions on this situation. Any insight and advice will be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Cypress
posted
03-Nov-18, 19:52
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 weeks ago
I am a little lost here.

Was the job a postdoc position to start with? If so, what do you mean when you say you applied for the job and then applied for the postdoc?
Also, what agency are you talking about and why do you think they had an influence on the decision?
posted
03-Nov-18, 20:47
edited about 11 seconds later
by cypress
Avatar for cypress
posted about 2 weeks ago
Sorry for the confusion.

The job is not a postdoc position, but a 2 year contract with a government ministry. The postdoc is a separate fellowship program. I approached the gov ministry about doing their advertised job as a postdoc funded by a separate fellowship program and applied for both. The gov job starts right away and the postdoc would start almost a year from now. Problem is the gov ministry awarded their job to someone else. I'm not sure what to think of that, but I'm not great at seeing the forest for the trees sometimes.

So if you were in my position (and you don't mind me asking), what would you do?
posted
03-Nov-18, 21:08
edited about 48 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 weeks ago
I am still lost.

You saw a job at a government department and got an interview for the job. At the same you thought the job would be a good post-doc idea. So you started organizing the post-doc with that department funding the post doc for after your job ended. While assuming you had the job.

But you didn't get the job. So you are now asking if that same department will now reject you post-doc funding. Is that right?
posted
03-Nov-18, 21:44
by cypress
Avatar for cypress
posted about 2 weeks ago
No, the postdoc funding does not come from the gov department, it comes from the postdoc fellowship. I suggested I extend the gov job another 2 years with postdoc funding from a separate entity.
posted
04-Nov-18, 03:11
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From cypress:
No, the postdoc funding does not come from the gov department, it comes from the postdoc fellowship. I suggested I extend the gov job another 2 years with postdoc funding from a separate entity.


I suspect that your suggestion to use another funding source to extend the gov job by two years costed you the job, even if they liked you very much. It is highly unusual for a gov or industry job to be extended by an external funding. Unlike academia where you rely on different funding sources to continue employment.

Why didn't you wait until you at least had a written offer before asking about what happens after the contract? That one year contract might have been a trial to see if you could be a fit and lead to a longer contract or permanent position.
posted
04-Nov-18, 12:17
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 2 weeks ago
Unless the project manager was offering the same to all applicants, surely s/he was acting incorrectly in favouring you in developing a possible follow-on. I can't imagine any HR team being happy with that.
posted
04-Nov-18, 12:47
edited about 29 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From cypress:
No, the postdoc funding does not come from the gov department, it comes from the postdoc fellowship. I suggested I extend the gov job another 2 years with postdoc funding from a separate entity.


Honestly, that sounds like you over complicated the job application. They wanted someone for one year because they either a) only had enough money for a year, or b) wanted it to be finished with in a year, or c) it was a trial job for something permanent. If it was b or c you over complicated the job, with the post-doc application.

So to answer your original question, it is not the agency's fault. Probably someone just as qualified with simpler demands also applied and got the job. But there are plenty more jobs out there, don't be disheartened by this.
posted
04-Nov-18, 16:32
edited a moment later
by cypress
Avatar for cypress
posted about 2 weeks ago
Thank you all for your responses, they are greatly appreciated.

Yeah, I figured that's what happened. Wow, that sucks. I guess I'm looking at these things as opportunities to collaborate but obviously doing it wrong. Thanks again. Cypress

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