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Postdoc positions in the states - general experience

  1. Feb 1, 2012 #1
    I was wondering if people could share with me their experiences of the workload associated with postdoc positions in the states. I am thinking of applying for some positions but i am put off by what i have previously heard - that as a postdoc you can end up doing the majority of the work in your research group, working very long hours and often on weekends and therefore you essentially have no life. Is this generally true or have i got it wrong?
    let me know your thoughts,
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2012 #2


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    I don't think you can reasonably expect a consensus answer to this question, as working conditions will vary by discipline, institution and advisor.

    From my anecdotal experience from a material science program at a top10 research university, foreign post-docs supported on advisor grants were routinely exploited and worked very long hours, nights and weekends, on a regular basis, for quite poor wage and benefits. When I graduated, I was personally unwilling to become a post-doc at an academic institution given the prevalence of these conditions and resolved to either win a postdoctoral fellowship, obtain an entry level industry position, or leave the field for brighter prospects. However, I stress that this is purely anecdotal and this may not be the case in places beyond my experience.
  4. Feb 1, 2012 #3


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    When I was a post-doc (although it was in Canada) it was actually the most 9-5ish job I've ever had.

    You have to evaluate positions individually though as there will be a whole spectrum. In general, post-docs do a lot of work because they are essentially short-term (~ 2-3 years) contract workers who expect to produce publishable results over the term of the contract.
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