January 18, 2014

Answers for Postdoc Q&A

Here are the answers for the Postdoc Q&A! HUGE thank you to the discussants who provided thoughtful responses about their experiences.  The responses have been left anonymous but here is a reminder of who the discussants are (in no particular order):

Matt Jarrett - skipped postdoc and went straight to a faculty position at the University of Alabama
Rebecca Brock -  postdoc funded on a PI’s grant at University of Iowa?
Elise Clerkin -  T32-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Brown
Michael Anestis - Military Suicide Research Consortium 
Richard Liu - international (from Canada), applied for a fellowship through a foundation as well as a PI-funded position, ended up getting both positions, and completed the PI-funded position in his first year and the foundation fellowship my 2nd and now 3rd years
Ryoichi Noguchi – research/clinical postdoc at Ohio State university medical center and moved to Cook Counseling Center at Virginia Tech

How did you decide whether to pursue a postdoc or try immediately for a faculty position? What are the pros and cons of each and how do you decide if you might be "ready" to try for a faculty job?

1.       I didn’t apply to any faculty positions. I was willing to defer being faculty for a couple years if I felt doing so would be significantly better for my career in the long run. Given that I am interested in a research-focused career track, I felt I needed more publications before applying for faculty positions, and there were also certain skills I was interested in obtaining (e.g., stats and granting writing). I was also interested in getting more experience in a psychiatry setting so as to be able to make an informed long term decision about whether I wanted to be in a psychology or psychiatry department. Given that it is much less common to get a junior research faculty position in psychiatry from outside the system, whereas this is the norm in psychology departments, it seemed doing a postdoc in psychiatry would keep both options open. This was one of the factors in my eventual decision to do my postdoc in psychiatry rather than psychology. Other than delaying the start of your faculty years, one potential con I can see is that with many postdoc positions a lot of your time is spent coordinating and helping to manage the principal investigator’s study, whereas that time could be spent further advancing your own research program if you were faculty. How much time and opportunity you have reserved for your own research can vary considerably from position to position.

2.       My decision was based largely on personal circumstances.  My wife and I had an infant and alternated years on internship, with me going first while our son was a baby and her going second.  I found an unorthodox postdoc – the first year of the postdoc position in the Military Suicide Research Consortium – that would allow me to work remotely from home and care for my son while my wife was completing her internship.  I called in for meetings and worked over email on nights and weekends, with 100% of my efforts focused on research.  This allowed my family to do what we needed to finish our degrees while spending time with one another during a critical moment.  It was all a bit chaotic!  Without those circumstances, I would have gone on the job market immediately.  I don’t know if there is an exact formula for determining readiness and readiness can mean multiple things (e.g., “are you qualified enough to get the position?” “are you ready to manage the demands of a tenure track job or would more training help in that regard?”).  To me, it hinges on whether you’ve produced enough quality work (e.g., publications) to establish that you have a fundable plan capable of impacting the field in a meaningful way.  For larger research institutions, having secured extramural funding of some sort (or at least having applied) is important as well.  Once you’ve got all of that – and you’ll likely have it before you believe that you do – throwing your hat in the ring is not a bad idea.  Logistically speaking, the earlier you have a faculty position, the earlier you’re earning a faculty salary and those years spent as a postdoc can theoretically cost a lot of money if you could have had a faculty job.    One way to look at it, as my advisor told me repeatedly throughout grad school, is to consider a fifth year in grad school as a pseudo post-doc.  If your program funds you for a fifth year, you’ll be at the top of your game with more time for research and fewer clinical and course demands.  You can use that time to build your application further and hone any skills that need sharpening.  At that same time, you’ll boost your internship application.

3.       One of the biggest considerations for me involved dealing with a dual-career situation. My wife, a developmental psychologist, was completing the second year of her post-doc while I was on internship, so she was on the job market for faculty positions during the fall of my internship. Given this timing, I decided to apply for faculty positions to see if we could coordinate multiple positions. During our job search, I received the first offer, so we had to decide whether to turn down that offer and wait for additional opportunities or to accept the offer and try to coordinate a second position. We were able to negotiate a 2-year post-doc for my wife and that position ultimately turned into a tenure-track faculty position for her. In retrospect, I probably would have completed a post-doc if I had not been trying to coordinate multiple careers. At the same time, though, I am happy with my choice, since we were ultimately able to coordinate two careers. I think one of the biggest considerations is whether you feel capable of meeting the demands of the faculty position you are pursuing. If you move into a tenure-track faculty position, you are going to be submitting your own research, grant submissions, etc., so you need to do a self-inventory to determine whether there are additional skills that you need to develop in order to function independently. In addition to this self-inventory, it is helpful to talk with your mentors and others that you know who have pursued positions without post-docs. Ultimately, there will not be an entirely “clear” answer, so you will just need to make the best decision that you can with the information that you have available.

4.       I knew during internship that I wasn’t ready for a faculty position.  I felt uncertain about the balance that I’d be most satisfied with in my career, and thought that postdoc would give me the opportunity to clarify my goals.  I specifically was interested in a postdoc that would allow me to engage in various activities I might do as faculty member (i.e., research, teaching, clinical work). 

5.       I felt adequately prepared to apply for a faculty position right out of graduate school. For me, this meant that many of my mentors and collaborators supported this choice, and had indicated that my publication record would ensure that I was a competitive applicant. I also felt that I was ready to run my own, independent, research program. However, I found the job market to be very competitive, and it was incredibly difficult to find a position that was a good fit with my research interests. For example, many programs were looking for faculty conducting neuroscience research, and my research is focused on family processes and developmental psychopathology. As a result, I quickly realized that I would need to adjust my approach and consider postdoctoral positions in addition to faculty positions.

If a tenure-track faculty position is your final goal, is it feasible/worth looking for faculty jobs and postdocs at the same time? Or should one only look at postdocs if the faculty search doesn't work out?

1.       Given that postings for postdoc positions generally lag a few months behind those for faculty positions, and knowing how busy the internship year can be, especially if you are still working on your dissertation, my inclination would be to focus first on the faculty positions and wait a couple months to see how those are turning out before focusing more on postdoc positions. I might be tempted to go after an early postdoc posting if it sounds like a really great fit with what I want to do, but it may also be important to keep in mind that they only give you a relatively brief amount of time to take their offer (the postdoc positions that extended me offers gave me two weeks to decide). I think it would be difficult for me to accept an early postdoc offer if I were still waiting to see how my faculty applications turn out.

2.       I think this depends entirely upon personal circumstance.  My postdoc position came through a different path than most, as the position was brand new and recruitment strategies for the job were still developing.  I was able to secure that job early and it fit my own circumstance for that year.  If I hadn’t been in that position, I almost certainly would have pursued a faculty job, but feeling nervous about landing one, I absolutely would have looked for post-doc positions as well.  I don’t know if the timelines would match such that a postdoc opportunity would wait until you know your status for faculty jobs, but if it can be worked out logistically, that seems like the best possible path.

3.       I think one could apply for faculty jobs and explore those options while simultaneously applying for some post-docs. I think this is similar to applying to graduate school but also exploring full-time research positions as a backup option in the event that you do not get accepted. Again, though, I would take some time to think about whether you are prepared to meet the demands of the job. Even if you are offered the faculty position, it is not going to be a good experience if you are not prepared to meet the demands of the job. For example, will you be expected to obtain a grant to get tenure? Multiple grants? If so, you need to determine whether you have developed the grant writing skills to meet this expectation. You might also explore your publication record and think about whether you will be able to meet the departmental standard for publishing in terms of quantity and quality. Again, discussions with mentors and others who have taken this path can be very helpful in making an informed decision.

4.       I think searching for both simultaneously is realistic.  Faculty positions typically open first, followed by postdoc positions.  So, the timeline to balance both searches also works well.  I applied for 2 faculty positions during my internship year.  I received a campus interview, but I was simultaneously applying/interviewing for postdocs.  As I went through the interview process, I realized that postdoc first would be a better fit for me.  So, I declined to go on the campus interview.

5.       One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from my experiences the past couple of years is that it is always best to pursue as many options as possible because the job market is competitive, especially if you are pursuing R1 faculty positions. Have back-up plans. A common strategy I have observed is to apply for faculty jobs as a primary goal, and postdoctoral positions as a secondary goal. Many postdoctoral applications are not due until later in the application process so, to some degree, you can see whether you need to apply to postdoc positions depending on how things progress with faculty applications. Also, be sure to keep your network informed of your plans, and keep them updated about the status of your job search. For me, it turned out that I found a postdoc position that was a wonderful fit through my network.

Matt, did you run into any issues when applying for tenure-track faculty positions because you did not do a postdoc?  If so, can you explain what they were and how you handled them?

One of the biggest issues that you might run into is licensure requirements. For example, many states require postdoctoral clinical hours, but increasingly, some states are no longer requiring postdoctoral hours. Since I was offered a position in a state that does not require postdoctoral hours, I was able to quickly take the EPPP and state exam to get licensed in my first year. If you are going to a state that requires postdoctoral hours, you will need to arrange for supervision to obtain the needed hours for licensure if you plan to get licensed. This does create some complexity in terms of mobility, but I believe that hours could be obtained via supervision if one would move to a different state. Another issue is that not doing a postdoc could affect your ability to pursue board certification in your specialty area. For example, in my area, clinical child and adolescent psychology, I believe that postdoctoral experience is needed to obtain board certification. That may or may not be an important consideration given your career aspirations.

Can you explain the process you went through for applying to postdocs?  If you did not have to apply, can you explain what type of conversations you had with the place you ended up doing your postdoc?

1.       My situation was a bit complicated. I started looking for postdoc positions a little early, around mid-October, because there was a foundation postdoc grant with an early December deadline that interested me. I started by looked for faculty who interested me and sent them emails, and I also completed applications for two formal openings. I had a few responses to my emails. I ended up meeting one of them at ABCT, and having phone conversations with two others. A couple suggested I apply for a T32 to work with them (for which unfortunately I was ineligible). One of the people I was really interested in working with agreed to sponsor my foundation grant application. The complication for me was that he was not able to support me if the grant didn’t get funded, and that the award notification date wasn’t until May, at which point it would be very late to be looking for a postdoc position. My sponsor was very understanding and agreed to continue working with me on the application while I continued to look for more certain positions. I ended up getting interviews and offers at both formal openings to which I applied. When I found out my grant was funded, we worked out an arrangement where I would work for a year at the formal position I accepted, and then transition to the grant-funded position my second and third years (both happened to be at the same institution).

2.       I knew the directors of the Military Suicide Research Consortium (my graduate advisor and a colleague who works frequently with the lab) and they knew of my situation at that time, so in a lucky “right place, right time” turn of events, they approached me about the possibility of taking on the position.  Needless to say, this took what would have otherwise been a remarkably stressful situation and made it a lot better!

3.       I did not apply to many postdoc positions but my experience applying for them was fairly straightforward. I had my supervisors pass down any job/postdoc openings and typically, the announcements were brief, requesting a cover letter and some references. I think nearly all of the positions requested that I send the materials electronically to the contact person, which made things quite simple. The biggest hurdle was tracking down my references and making sure that they sent out a reference letter in a timely manner. I typically heard back through email about the status of the application and then an initial phone interview, followed by an in-person interview at the site.

4.       Applying for postdocs was a more informal process than applying for faculty positions.  I applied to some via more traditional job postings (e.g., through announcements on professional listserves).  Other postdoc opportunities were the result of my “cold calling” professors, to see whether they might have an available postdoc (i.e., I sent my CV, and expressed my interest in their research).  Surprisingly, this worked well in several circumstances.  The postdoc I wound up ultimately getting was an NIAAA funded T32 postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University.  The application for the T32 was a research grant proposal, CV, and cover letter.  Following this, there were phone interviews with faculty. 

5.       I relied heavily on my professional network to find a postdoc position. Therefore, I didn’t actively seek out opportunities or broadly submit applications. My current position was nationally advertised, but the interview consisted of meeting with the PI (who had reviewed my CV), answering her questions about my research experience, and discussing expectations and responsibilities.  I was contacted shortly after and was offered the position. The PI was flexible as I was still waiting to hear about submitted applications for faculty positions, but at some point I had to decide whether to commit to the postdoc. I think that this can be one of the challenges of the process. Unlike the internship interview process which is very structured, timelines vary greatly for faculty and postdoc positions, and most likely you will need to make decisions without knowing what other options might be available if you were to wait.

If you are a research-oriented student in clinical psychology, what are typically the benefits of taking a postdoc fellowship verses a faculty position straight out (assuming you are offered both types of positions)?  I imagine taking a postdoc gives you more opportunities to gain additional training experience and time to obtain publications, but are there other  important considerations?

1.       It is not just getting the additional training experience, but that it is generally much cheaper and easier to pick up some additional skills as a trainee (e.g., stats, grant writing) than as a faculty, especially if the new skills you are hoping to acquire are available in the lab you will be joining as a postdoc. Even if you are a research-oriented grad student in clinical psych, if you are applying for faculty positions, it can make your application more appealing to some departments if you are able to serve as a supervisor on clinic teams. Obviously with the extra year(s) on postdoc, it is easier to be licensed or nearly so by the time you apply for faculty positions.

2.       The only scenario in which I could see value in accepting a post-doc position when you have a faculty offer would be if the faculty position did not appeal to you.  Some of that can be managed by only applying to places you’d actually go, but some of that can emerge later in the process (e.g., the department is not collegial, the money is not workable, a personal development made the situation suboptimal).  Beyond that, I would argue that the faculty job is the way to go.

3.       Another consideration is the financial cost of doing a post-doc. If you obtain a tenure-track position, you might be making somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000-$30,000 more per year in a tenure-track position. That should not be your sole consideration, but it’s certainly a factor to consider. Again, I think it comes down to a self-inventory of whether you are prepared to meet the demands of the faculty position you are attempting to acquire.

4.       Although postdocs vary, the biggest advantage of my postdoc is that I had a great deal of self-directed time where I was able to focus largely on my professional development goals. This made beginning as a faculty member easier, since I’d already applied for a grant, gained teaching experience, completed my EPPP, etc. See #7 and 8 for more detail. 

5.       Although I initially had hoped to transition directly into a faculty position following graduation, a postdoc position turned out to be an ideal next step for me. I think the primary advantage of a postdoctoral position is that you have considerably more time to focus on research than you would in a faculty position. Granted, this depends on the degree to which the postdoc position is research versus clinically-focused; however, as a new faculty member, much of your attention is focused on preparing courses and getting your lab up and running. As a postdoc, you will often have the advantage of joining a well-established research laboratory and can focus on publishing regularly throughout your time as a postdoc. I have enjoyed having time to learn new statistical techniques, immerse myself in new literature, sit back and formulate new research questions, and consider where I want to take my program of research. I feel less rushed, and I like that I can make more thoughtful and informed career decisions.

How do you determine how long you will be on postdoc?  Is this decided by the place or can you decide/negotiate with them?

1.       The standard is two years, though formally it is often for one year with renewal after the first year being contingent upon performance. Some places are very flexible in letting you leave for a faculty position after the first year, whereas others might be more invested in having you stay for the full two years.

2.       My position was intended to be a one-year job, with the goal of landing a faculty job during that time.  Had I not secured a job, it may have been possible to pursue a second year with the MSRC; however, I do not know for sure that this is true.  For me, the position was an opportunity to learn new skills and improve my application while making it easier for my family to move wherever my wife matched for internship.

3.       The length of time on the postdocs that I looked in to certainly varied from position to position. There were some clinical postdocs that I applied to that specified a timeframe from the start (e.g., typically a year from what I saw), while I encountered a site or two that noted that the position was for 2 or 3 years. With sites that request more than a year of commitment, they seemed to be willing to allow people to leave before the specified timeframe but I wouldn’t apply to a site assuming that this is negotiable. If sites note that the position is for multiple years, there’s probably a reason for that such as funding for grants that might require some continuity. If the position is advertised for more than a year, it would be important for an applicant to be okay with staying on for the full specified length of time.

4.       I think that most postdocs are 1-3 years.  This is something you’d want to discuss upfront.  For us, the postdoc was guaranteed for 2 years, but there was the possibility to extend the postdoc to a third.  However, not everyone was given the option to continue on for 3 years given the difficult funding climate. 

5.       I suspect that this varies greatly across postdocs; however, in my case, a general timeline was discussed during my interview with the PI, with the expectation that it might vary depending on available grant funding.  I think the most important consideration is to be very clear about a minimum amount of time that the PI can guarantee your position will be funded so that you can plan accordingly. Then, clarify if there might be an option for you to stay on longer contingent on performance and available funding. This later point maps onto what I said earlier about having back-up plans… there is no way of knowing the outcome of your next attempt to apply for faculty positions. Knowing that there might be some flexibility with your postdoc in case you need longer funding is wise, in my opinion, and helps to minimize worry and pressure when you return to the job market.

To what extent did you have any teaching opportunities during post-doc?  If a student was interested in getting this experience due to not having any during graduate school, would this be possible?

1.       This may vary from place to place, and would be something to ask about. I am currently in a psychiatry setting and the university’s psychology department does not have a clinical psychology program. However, many postdocs here are still able to moonlight on the side and teach courses in the university’s summer program, or serve as adjunct faculty teaching undergraduate courses at local colleges. Teaching opportunities may be more naturally available for postdocs in a psychology department.

2.       My position was 100% research, so I did not have any teaching opportunities.  I had a lot of experience during graduate school and internship, so pursuing that wasn’t a priority for that particular year (I really needed the flexibility to be home during the day for that time period).  In the absence of teaching opportunities prior to post-doc, however, I would strongly encourage folks to pursue positions that enable such chances.  Being able to cite experience (and positive teaching evals!) is a valuable characteristic when you are on the job market for faculty positions.

3.       I did not have teaching opportunities during my postdoc but my position never advertised for teaching opportunities either since it was clinical/research based. That said, there could be some informal teaching opportunities within a setting (e.g., teaching/supervision of RAs). If it’s more formal teaching like teaching a classroom course, which sounds like what this question is asking, this would depend from site to site. If you’re interested in pursuing some teaching experiences, I would recommend inquiring further about these types of opportunities since each site will have different expectations and willingness to accommodate these types of requests. For instance, it might not be possible to teach during the first year of postdoc but an opportunity to do so might be created during your second year. I would imagine that something like teaching will depend on a several factors including flexibility of the postdoc position itself and where the postdoc is located. While I am generalizing here, postdocs tend to be quite busy. It would be great if it is possible to carve out time from your regular postdoc duties and create a syllabus, prep and teach a class, grade, and have office hours. But this will require quite a bit of flexibility. I also mentioned the location since some postdocs will be outside of a university psych department and others will be at a medical/health sciences center. There might not be many teaching opportunities in one area (e.g., medical center) but there could be in others (e.g., psych department) and vice versa. If anything, I would inquire about the possibility of how teaching experiences might be integrated into a postdoc position.

4.       If teaching is something you might be interested in for your career, I think postdoc is a great chance to gain experience.  I taught an accelerated summer class – a version of Introduction to Abnormal Psychology – through Brown.  Other postdocs also adjunct-taught at local universities.  It was helpful for me to have the materials prepped for Abnormal when I started my faculty position.  Gaining teaching experience can also give you a better sense of how much you enjoy teaching, and whether you’d want for teaching to be a large component of your job as a faculty member. 

5.       Again, it depends on the postdoc. If you are very interested in obtaining teaching experience during the postdoc, I would recommend you discuss this upfront when you interview to make sure that this is even an option.

In your view, what is the most important thing to accomplish during the postdoc and what are the first steps to accomplish it?

1.       The general answer is to make sure you have the skills and experiences by the time you finish your postdoc to be able to be an independent faculty member afterwards. I think the specific answer to this will vary depending on your individual long term career goals (emphasis on clinical, teaching, or research) and what relevant skills and experiences you felt you were most lacking and hoping to acquire during your postdoc years. For example, if you want to be faculty in a small liberal arts college but have limited teaching experience, addressing that gap would likely be the most important thing to accomplish. Prior to applying, I would identify the skills and experiences I was most lacking and which would be most essential to long term success in my specific career path, and then choose my eventual postdoc position based on what provided the greatest fit with my specific needs.

2.       This is a broad answer, but I’d say that the most important thing to accomplish is to directly address any notable weakness in your faculty application.  If you’re short on publications in general, first authored publications, or publications independent of your major professor, pursue those.  If you haven’t applied for any form of funding, apply for some.  If you haven’t taught, teach!  If you’ve done these things but aren’t ready to go on the market, either develop new skills relevant to emerging fundable lines of research in your area or further enhance your already marketable skills.   The first step to accomplishing this is identifying the goal and then focusing your applications on positions that enable that specific task(s).

3.       I am sidestepping the question a bit, but this is because I think the most important thing will depend on what you hope to get out of the postdoc. If I were to reword this question a slightly different way (What are the first steps in maximizing my postdoc experience?), I would say settled in and getting acclimated quickly. I realize that this is the case with nearly any position, but I do think that this is an important element when going into a time-limited position like a postdoc. There are a lot of time consuming aspects of starting a new position, especially if you take a position in a new city/town. In addition to getting settled in, you’ll be expected to get to know the research team, the site’s policies, procedures, protocols, going through some training, and orientation to name a few things. All of this can take up a good amount of time, but if you’re able to adjust fairly quickly, you might have more time for additional research, clinical work, preparing for the EPPP or whatever else that you would like to accomplish. Some sites ease you in whereas as at other sites, you hit the ground running so be sure to get an idea as to what kind of site each advertised position is like.

4.       If you are a research-oriented person, writing a grant is an excellent goal.  As a first step, I would seek out a mentor to help guide you through the process, even if you aren’t applying for a mentorship-oriented grant (e.g., a K award).  If you aspire to be a licensed clinical psychologist, I’d also encourage you to complete your postdoctoral clinical hours if possible, and take the EPPP.

5.       More generally, I think one of the most important first steps is to talk with your direct supervisor so that you are on the same page about your goals, and discuss ways that you can reach your goals that will be mutually beneficial. For me, I have focused on publishing. Service, conference presentations, etc. are all important to some degree. However, if you are seeking an R1 faculty position, the number of first-author publications you have, in top-tier peer reviewed journals, is the most important factor by far. Further, try to focus on publications that help to round out your program of research. I reviewed my research statement and job talk early on in the postdoc so that I could be thinking about what gaps I want to fill, and how the work I am doing as a postdoc can build on the work I have already done.

What was the best thing about doing a postdoc? 

1.       I was unsure about my career path (i.e., psychology or psychiatry). Doing a postdoc in a psychiatry setting gave me the opportunity really to make this important decision before applying for faculty positions.

2.       For me, it was the opportunity to focus all of my professional energy on large research projects with people I admire and enjoy.  I was able to take the lead on several projects that took a serious amount of time and are still in the process of going through peer review.  I think these experiences enhanced my abilities as a thinker, writer, and scientist.  Research is fun for me and I was finally being paid to do it without any other real demands.

3.       Simply put, I would say that additional opportunities I had to refine and acquire new skills was the best thing. Leaving my internship, I had a pretty good idea of where my strengths and weaknesses were. I approached applications and interviews with the mindset of honing/acquiring skills because I wanted to expand on what I had learned during my internship year.

4.       I loved being a postdoc.  Professionally, the best thing about being a postdoc was that I had a great deal of flexibility regarding how I spent my time.  The other best thing about being a postdoc was that I received excellent grantsmanship training.  Finally, the connections and collaborative relationships you form during postdoc can be highly rewarding in both the short and long term.

5.       The composition of postdoc positions can vary greatly, so it is important to choose a postdoc that matches your goals. I feel grateful to have found a position that leaves my schedule almost entirely free to work on analyzing data and preparing manuscripts for publication. I am keenly aware that I will probably never have an opportunity like this again in my career, and am trying to capitalize on this opportunity as much as possible.

What was one of the hardest things about doing a postdoc?

1.       It was tough waiting another couple years to have a faculty position even though I knew it was the better long term decision.

2.       Being on the faculty job market.  No matter how strong your application is, this will be a stressful process and it will consume much of your time as a postdoc.  There’s a vague waiting game – will I hear about an interview today? – that can be difficult because the stakes are high.  The job at the other end of the hunt makes it all worthwhile (at least for me and many of my friends), but the search itself is a difficult moment in life.

3.       For me the most difficult thing was the change from being with a group of fellow pre-doctoral interns to being the only post-doc. I had gotten used to talking about my experiences with fellow interns. It was nice to have people going through the same process and to talk about similar experiences. For me, this was one of the more noticeable things that I missed in transitioning from internship to postdoc.

4.       The sense of “limbo” and uncertainty that you are in for a 1-3 year position.  As well, having to move across the country for internship, then again for postdoc, and then again for a faculty position was difficult.  If possible, I highly recommend completely a postdoc near your internship.  One other thing I didn’t anticipate about postdoc is that because I “wrote up” a lot of my data from graduate school, when I started my faculty position, I did not have a great deal of existing data sets to use.  In retrospect, I wish that I’d been a little more savvy about this issue, and had generated new data during postdoc. 

5.       It is an interesting position in that you are no longer a graduate student, but not quite an independent researcher. In terms of professional identity and development, this can be a bit challenging. In my case, I am the only postdoc working in the lab, and have realized that I miss having a cohort of colleagues in a similar career stage to consult with and turn to for support.

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