Monday, August 01, 2005

What is my job?

In the old days, people would just send their CV around to a bunch of schools, regardless of whether there were any job ads that year. Nowadays it seems like you have to know where the openings are, because by the time the ads are out, you missed your chance.

But I'm looking at ads for faculty positions nonetheless, mostly because I don't have enough useful connections. The pickings are pretty pathetic. I don't do pharmacogenomics, I don't do systems biology, I don't do stem cell biology, I'm not an expert in mass spec or NMR, and I've never taken any anatomy, pathology or histology courses (I wanted to take pathology and histology, I just never had a chance). I certainly couldn't claim to be able to teach these things!

So I think I'm screwed. Cancer seems to be totally out of vogue as diseases go, or the med school market is just swamped with cancer researchers, and that's why they're not advertising? And I don't want to be in an Evo/Devo style Bio department. I never took Evolutionary Bio, how could I possibly teach it?

I'm wondering if this is the real reason people do 9-year postdocs: how else do you learn whether to market yourself as a pharmacogeneticist or not? Or is that what they're doing for the last 6 years of postdoc- making themselves ridiculously qualified for positions nobody could possibly be qualified for? Where are all these people? I'm thinking most of them must be MDs, because I have yet to meet any postdocs who work in the fields I'm seeing advertisements for now.

I have this funny feeling everyone is advertising for people who don't exist, and everyone is studying things that no one wants to have in their department. Seems like a little bit of planning would have helped us all out of this mess, but now it's too late.


At 5:22 PM, Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Welcome to hell. Some people think you have to piss gawd off and then die to go to hell. But there are others of us who know the truth: hell is seeking an academic faculty position.

GrrlScientist (who has been seeking for 2 years and 2 days, so far, without any luck).

At 5:22 PM, Blogger bd__sd said...

welcome to the job hunting circus. :-) although my boss just said he picked up a 50%FTE for me if i want to stay. but that only buys me time.

--yet another useless 5th (entering 6th) year postdoc :-P

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have this funny feeling everyone is advertising for people who don't exist...

I've heard from a good source in academia that lots of job ads are horribly specific so that basically no-one satisfies the profile. Then they can choose the person they want and back it up with "well, no-one was really good enough, but person X had property Y, so we went with that comprimise".


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