Non-Postdoc Jobs for People with PhDs
There's one we haven't talked about at all: Staff Scientist.
This is where I think you should go if you want to work at the bench and don't want to teach or write grants. You don't need to do a postdoc at all to get this kind of position. And you can do it in industry or in academia.
Why should we redefine what a postdoc is to accomodate people who can't decide what to do next?
If you're producing good work, as one person said, go be a staff scientist. Postdocs should not be producers for other people's projects. A postdoc should be training for YOU. You should be working on your own, independent projects. If you can't come up with something to work on that's your own idea as a postdoc, why do you think you'll have anything to write a grant on as a PI?
If you're not sure you want to be a PI, you're never going to be. Do you think someone's going to pat you on the head every day as a postdoc and build up your ego? Never gonna happen . It's even less likely than it was when you were a grad student. And people who stay in a postdoc position for 5+ years because they weren't sure, are going to eventually apply for faculty positions, if they can just stay as a postdoc for a few more years??? In fact, just the opposite.
So then we're back to, why didn't you get a staff scientist position in the first place? Insecurity?
If you want to be a PI, get sure, get your act together. Floaters don't deserve faculty positions. I've probably said this before, If you can't handle the stress of working hard as a postdoc, you're definitely not going to be able to handle the stress of writing grants, teaching classes, serving on committees, going to meetings, training students and technicians, and doing research.
It doesn't get easier as you go up the ladder, it just gets harder. Have you looked at the NIH budget lately?
Having said that, in response to that last comment on my previous post, get a therapist. Read some self-help books. If your ego has been crushed by abusive advisors and crappy situations, you have to ask yourself:
1. Why did I put up with that situation for several years, when it was so clearly bad for me?
2. Why do I take that abusive person's opinions as more valuable than my own?
There are very few situations you have to just put up with, and take the abuse. In most cases, I firmly believe, it's better to just get out of there and find some people who will support you. It's like the song from A Chorus Line , "Nothing." If the teacher is bad, and mean to you, go find a better class.