To go, or not to go, abroad
re: Dr. J's suggestion from Friday's post, the suggestion was What About Jobs Overseas?
I had thought this would be a viable option at one point, but then I visited some collaborators and interviewed for a postdoc in Europe, and decided it probably wouldn't be good for me. Here are some of the reasons:
1. Work as a job vs. a lifestyle. I've always worked at places where everyone is there evenings and weekends. Research = lifestyle. Most places in Europe, I'm told, are not like that. It's hard enough getting good people to work for you in the US, but everyone I know in Europe complains that none of their students or postdocs work hard enough. Much as I would like to hope I'd be more patient, balanced and understanding, I think the slower pace of research would frustrate me.
2. Supplies, supplies. In the US, I've been very spoiled. Most things you can get the same day, the next day, or later that same week (usually at the latest). Double or quadruple that for most other places in the world, and add in issues with shipping on dry ice, shipping animal or human samples, etc. And did I mention that I really hate waiting for things. Really, really hate it.
3. Uh, cluelessness. I know next to nothing about how the funding works, and I speak only one language besides my native one. And that one, not very fluently anymore.
4. Sexism. Yes, other countries may have just as many, or more, women in science. But my impression is that the women still can't make it to the highest levels. My impression is that the glass ceiling is even worse, in general, outside the US. And by that I mean, the PI level. Nevermind director of an institute or department chair. This is partly because of the more hierarchical organization of research departments outside the US. Did I mention I have problems with authority? More hierarchical = definitely bad.
5. Uh, connections. Clearly, I'm not well-enough connected in the US or I would have gotten some interviews here by now, right? But I have even fewer connections overseas. So I think my chances of getting an interview overseas are just as bad as they are here, or worse.
Maybe these are stupid reasons. But, see #3 up there. I started looking at the application process for the equivalent of a foreign NIH, and let's just say it was at least as bad as the one at NIH, and in my second language it was that much more confusing. As usual I have to say, if anyone is confused about why research is slow, it's because we waste huge amounts of time trying to make sense of convoluted, unintelligible paperwork. At some point I have to say, I've done a helluva lot of applications, maybe my time would be better spent doing experiments so I can publish one last paper.
One last hurrah.