For those of you who have had postdocs, how much did you expect of them when they first arrived? Did you expect them to already know a lot? I just started my first postdoc and I'm finding I'm really lacking confidence, and I'm starting to feel really isolated. The reason is, compared to when I was doing a PhD, I don't have people who I feel it is okay to ask stupid questions with, and since I'm starting in a reasonable different area, I'd feel like most of my questions might be stupid. As a PhD student, I had my fellow-PhD students who were all in the same boat, and so I could ask them. Also, I didn't mind admitting my ignorance to my advisor (at least a little bit) because as a student it felt acceptable not to know things. Now as a postdoc I feel like there's an expectation on me to know things, so I'm afraid to ask beginner-type questions. Everyone else seems smarter and more knowledgable, and I don't even know why - they just seem like physicists - whereas I still feel like a student. I get nervous around people at the best of times anyway. So feeling inferior makes talking with my colleagues nerve-racking. Has any of you had experience with postdocs asking really ignorant questions? Did it make you wish you'd never hired them? Or do you think it is okay?