Post Doc vs Quant with the Goal of Becoming a Assistant Prof

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I have been looking into what is like being a Post Doc in theoretical physics, and the impression that I get is that it is like graduate school, except you are paid a bit more money and some how you have much more work to do. I want to become a professor in theoretical physics but at the same time don't want to throw away the rest of my 20s and potentially early 30s making barely any money and being a economic liability to my partner. The type of research I do requires no university facilities and can be done with just paper, pen and a desktop. So I was thinking, how about instead of becoming a Post Doc after I get my PhD next year that I become a Quant, but still publish papers. I'll still be working like a madman, but I won't be a economic liability and during the few precious moments that I am not working I can actually live the life while I'm still young. If I get 3 or 4 papers a year published while being a Quant for a couple of years will that allow me to get an Assistant Professorship or is brutalizing yourself with a Post Doc the cultural requirement independent of ones ability to publish? I should add I can still work with my adviser as a Quant, but I would be more of a collaborator then the part of the traditional PI, Post Doc relationship.

Thank you.
 

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  • #2
phyzguy
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Dream on. You will probably be expected to work 50-60 hours a week as a quant. Do you really think you will have the time and energy to do quality research on top of that? You need to decide which is more important to you, the money or an academic position.
 
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It is not impossible to publish while working, but as a postdoc you would actually be working to publish, which would make it easier and save you time. If you work and do publications, this means you would need to spend more time after work for publications, while you are saying that you need to have sometime to enjoy your life. Have you discussed your options with your PhD supervisor?
 
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Orodruin
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In addition to what has been said, I think you have the wrong impression of what the post doc is for. It is not only for producing papers at a high rate, but also to experience a different research environment, make new collaborators, and show your academic independence while doing so. There is no way you can do this without doing a post doc and collaborating extensively with your PhD supervisor is a sure way to get hiring committees to raise a red flag about academic independence.

In other words, I think you can completely forget about a carreer in academia if you do not do post docs and try to get a position while working with other things.
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50
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after I get my PhD next year
You were applying to grad schools a year ago. Can you explain how you were able to finish a PhD in a single year? (Especially as you should just be starting grad school around now) I think that's sufficiently atypical that it might influence the advice.
 
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ZapperZ
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I have been looking into what is like being a Post Doc in theoretical physics, and the impression that I get is that it is like graduate school, except you are paid a bit more money and some how you have much more work to do. I want to become a professor in theoretical physics but at the same time don't want to throw away the rest of my 20s and potentially early 30s making barely any money and being a economic liability to my partner. The type of research I do requires no university facilities and can be done with just paper, pen and a desktop. So I was thinking, how about instead of becoming a Post Doc after I get my PhD next year that I become a Quant, but still publish papers. I'll still be working like a madman, but I won't be a economic liability and during the few precious moments that I am not working I can actually live the life while I'm still young. If I get 3 or 4 papers a year published while being a Quant for a couple of years will that allow me to get an Assistant Professorship or is brutalizing yourself with a Post Doc the cultural requirement independent of ones ability to publish? I should add I can still work with my adviser as a Quant, but I would be more of a collaborator then the part of the traditional PI, Post Doc relationship.

Thank you.
There is something weird, puzzling, and unrealistic in this post and with your view of what is in front of you.

1. You seem to have a view that publishing papers is like a production line, that you can whip out "... 3 or 4 papers a year..." just like that. And not only that, but while working as a quant as well! How many have you published during your academic years?

2. You have this notion that there is an Assistant Professorship job waiting for you. You seem to be forgetting that there WILL be competition for such a job, if there is an opening. And not only that, but you will be competing with a large number of candidates, with excellent "pedigrees", and probably who have done post docs with well-known supervisors. So how do you think you'll stack up against them?

3. How many assistant professor job openings, for theoretical physicists, in your area of specialization, have you seen advertised?

After what @Vanadium 50 has brought up, I am even more puzzled by what really is the situation here.

Zz.
 
  • #7
Choppy
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Another factor to consider here is the transition from PhD student to quant. I'm not sure such a step is trivial. These days it may require some additional training or qualifications (depending perhaps on what you do for your PhD).
 

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