In article <4qna3q$jm4 at ds2.acs.ucalgary.ca>, sfraser at acs5.acs.ucalgary.ca
(Sherri Fraser) wrote:
>> I am a Ph.D. student in the final throes of my degree. I
> have been applying and being interviewed for post-doc positions
> in the US (I am Canadian). I have just received the good news
> that the lab that I have (so far) been most interested in, has now
> got the money they needed, and have offered me a position. I
> now would like some advice.
> The offer is for salary and "benefits". What is a good
> or bad benefits package in the US?
> I have also just received word from another lab that they
> are interested in me, but I have not yet done even a telephone
> interview with the PI. How long is considered too long to make
> the first person that made me an offer wait to find out if I will
> accept? How do I tell the person that made the first offer that
> I (at least) want to pursue the interview process?
> This one is a tough one and I know it has been discussed
> before, but I am married and we want to have kids. We've put it
> off while I did my Ph.D., but don't really want to wait too much
> longer. How do I approach the subject with the person that made
> me the offer? I have not mentioned maternity leave yet to him.
> How long should I work for somebody new before my husband and I
> start trying to have kids (assuming my new supervisor will agree
> to this at all)?
> Finally, is there anything else I need to ask?
> Especially being a Canadian that has never left Canada, what else
> is important?
>> Thanks for any advice,
> Sherri Fraser
A good benefits package would have health and dental insurance, a
reasonable amount of vacation and sick time, and a retirement plan. As a
postdoc, the retirement plan is probably not as important, but make sure
you get decent medical benefits, especially if you are planning a
As far as having kids goes, you don't need your supervisor's approval
before starting a family, and I don't think you should even mention it to
any of your prospective employers before you start. It is true that some
mentors will be more supportive than others, so you should try chatting
with some of the people in the lab, find out if any have children, and get
a feel for the prevailing attitude. Also phone the institution's personnel
department and inquire about maternity leave policies. I personally think
working for about a year before getting pregnant is appropriate, so that
you are well established in the lab before you go on leave. I was
fortunate that I worked right up to delivery for both my children (went
into labor at work with the second one), but many women are forced to cut
hours or stop working before their due date, so take that into account.
Whenever you choose to have them, kids will change your life in more ways
than you can imagine! Good luck.
Deborah Britt, Ph.D.
RI Hospital/Brown University