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short postdocs - truth or dare

S L Forsburg forsburg at salk.edu
Fri Aug 30 13:14:22 EST 1996

Sarah L. Pallas wrote:

> On the other side, if someone wanted me to hire them on as a postdoc and
> then left unexpectedly after a year I would be very angry, especially if
> I was supplying the salary for that person and spending my valuable time
> training them.  I expect to see some benefit from my investment.  Funds
> for postdoc salaries are hard to come by, especially for young
> investigators like myself. 

I agree with Sarah, from painful experience.  
I've HAD a couple of hit-and-run postdocs; they left my lab very 
quickly for industry.  It was the best thing for them, so I can't 
blame them for looking out for themselves,  but it REALLY hurt my lab.
I now explicitly require a minimum two year commitment.  I would be
seriously annoyed if someone   left in less time, or if they knew 
they wanted to leave in less  time and didnt tell me.

So, as to the original post, be frank.  Yes, some people won't
hire you, but you  can't afford to have an irate PI in your
background.  A couple of earlier postings suggested strategies--moving
into a completely new field for a year of training (although the lab
has to get something out of you), or making a lateral move and
staying with the same field, where you can be very productive in
a short time.


Susan L Forsburg PhD
MBVL, The Salk Institute
forsburg at salk.edu

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