Sunday, June 29, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

I'm choosing to do my post-doc in the same city where I completed graduate school. Is it the right decision? I really don't know, and after finalizing the decision recently by formally accepting a post-doc position, I am starting to have reservations. This would happen either way, mind you. For myself, and maybe for others in a similar situation, I am going to revisit why I ultimately decided to stay. (Note: These are in no particular order.)

1 . Significant others career to consider.
My soon-to-be husband is doing very well in his chosen field (not a research scientist) at the moment, and the city we reside in is one of the best markets in the country for his profession. He can get the same job in another city, but in most of the places we looked at, the cost of living increase would not correspond to the same increase in salary for him because the market we currently live in pays extremely well. The opportunities in his field are endless in the city we currently reside in.

2. Money.
Reason one is tightly linked to reason two. We all know that the increase from graduate student stipend to post-doc salary is very small, so that would not help alleviate the cost-of-living increase mentioned in reason one. Furthermore, a post-doc salary can go a long way where we live now, and that is nice. This will allow us to save and invest more now, which ultimately results in more money for retirement in the long run. (I know, BORING. But, important and stupid not to consider.) So the bottom line, fiscally, for us, this makes more sense.

3. Good options for me. Yay!
The city I live in has a large medical center, multiple universities with research programs (so, lots of labs), a growing biotech industry as well as other types of industry. There are some pretty big names here, but not to the degree that a city like Boston would have. But still, very good options for me. These PIs are well-known and have produced post-docs that have gone on to get faculty positions as well. Post-docs in their labs often obtain their own funding, and this is something I completely intend on attempting. (Note: I have accepted a job in one such lab...whew.)

4. Families and friends are close.
We live reasonably close to both mine and my (almost) husbands families. If we start a family, this will be very helpful, considering we both plan on continuing to work outside the home. Having family close by to help out with these responsibilities would ultimately help mediate career goals, not hinder them.
We have close friends here too. Spending time with friends is one of the enjoyable parts of life. While I really like my chosen career path and can't really imagine doing something else, I think that enjoying life outside of work is equally important, at least to me.

Those aren't all the reasons, but they were the most significant. No one reason tipped the balance to stay, it was more of a combination of these reasons.


Anonymous said...

If I go there will be trouble...
And if I stay it will be double

Tom said...

Avoiding academic incest (working in the same place you did your PhD work) is the best option, and as long as you did that ... especially if it's a major metropolitan area ... you're in the clear.

microbiologist xx said...

I agree. Academic incest won't get you far and I am avoiding it. Also, I think if I can get my own funding as a post-doc (especially in this hostile climate), then my worries about not moving will disappear all together.