How to Leave a Postdoc Quickly with Your Reputation Intact
I started my postdoc in November. As much as I would like to say that it is going great, that is not the case. I have tried to work it out so far but I am thinking of changing the lab to find another postdoc or more ideally, a job in an industry. I will be quite obviously asked the reason of having such a short time in my postdoc. I am wondering what is the exact way of saying that without sounding like someone who is difficult to work with. I do not wish to personally attack my mentor. Also, does having a postdoc usually impact the process of getting a new job? My Ph.D. advisors and committee members can give a great recommendation for me but that will not be the case with my current advisor. Please help! and thank you!
It is not usual to have a very short postdoc. I personally know a few people who got job offers a few months into their fellowships, and we all thought they were really lucky. ;-)
If you want to leave, I would recommend looking for a job rather than another postdoc. When you apply for a job, you can say that you believe the position would be a great opportunity and you do not want to pass it up even though you just started your postdoc. If you decide to apply for another postdoc, you can justify your decision by telling your new PI that the other postdoc was not a good match for you because of the project.
Word to the wise: You should never badmouth any of your previous bosses or coworkers in an interview or even after you get a job.
The great recommendations from your previous mentors will definitely support you, so your interviewers will not think you are tough to work with.
The job market is picking up, so this is the perfect time to look for a new opportunity!
Dora Farkas, Ph.D. is the author “The Smart Way to Your Ph.D.:200 Secrets from 100 Graduates,” and the founder of PhDNet, an online community for graduate students and PhDs. You will find links to her book, monthly newsletters, and discussion board on her site. Send your questions to DearDora@benchfly.com and keep an eye out for them in an upcoming issue!
Stay tuned for the next Dear Dora in two weeks! In the meantime, check a few of Dora’s recent posts:
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- Walking the Thin Line Between a Great Result and a Lie
- Dear Boss: I Want to Graduate. Let’s Talk.
- My Boss’ Spouse: A Spy or Civilian in Lab?
- Bullying in the Lab: Are PIs Guilty
- What Came First: The Grad Student or the PI?
- Problems Communicating Science to Family? It’s Not Them, It’s You
- How to Address the Funky-Smelling Lunch Problem
- Does a Fellowship Yield Scientific Independence or Does the Boss Rule?
- The Arrogant Labmate: Face ‘Em or Forget ‘Em
- Is Grad School or Postdoc Success More Important for My Career?
- Can We Skip the GRE Subject Test If It’s Too Expensive?
- The Ethics of Mooching
- Stuck Sharing a Project with a Lazy Labmate?
- Repetitive Strain Injury: The Hidden Lab Hazard
- Take My Figure Off Your Poster…Or Else.
Submit your questions to Dora at DearDora@benchfly.com, or use the comment box below!
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