I'm in a need of a career advice, and I can't really think up any better to ask than all of you.

There is a post-doc position within upgrading biofuel that I am almost certain to be offered. There is some catalysis involved, but it is somewhat away from my primary interests: Organic synthesis and polymers. Similar positions within these topics are scarce, but at my alma mater they would hire me immediately if they get the funds nescessary.

What should I do? Accept being away from home ground for two years, working on getting funding for the Chemistry department, or sit tight and hope that a better fitting position comes along?


EDIT: I would like to precise, that I am going to apply for funding for an industrial post-doc together with a company. They are highly interested in me, but lack the funding. The job would be way more aligned with synthesis and polymer chemistry - but I will have to take a calculated risk: There is a 60% success rate for the applications, but I'll have be without job (2 months) until we get a (hopefully) positive answer. Is the post-doc really that career-determining?

  • This seems to be a primarely opinion based question. You might be better off using the weekly career thread on reddit r/chemistry. Imo staying at your alma mater the whole academic life is bad (at leats in my country you won't get a good position without international experience), you should go somewhere else at least for 1 or two years. However, this should be in the field you want to persue afterwards, that's the point of doing a postdoc. In my experience (I'm a synthetic organic chemist) there are a lots of possibilities to get postdoc experience in organic synthesis or polymer chemistry. – user64845 Dec 28 '17 at 12:54
  • Thanks. I am getting my PhD at a different university, but going abroad is not really an option - I have three small kids. – pseudoninja Dec 28 '17 at 13:05
  • @pseudoninja OMG accept offer, now PostDoc positions are extremely rare – SSimon Dec 28 '17 at 15:45

The most important thing is to evaluate if you will be able to keep a steady output of papers during this post-doc, if you can't hit the ground running than you will lose time to get comfortable with new material, two years go by very quickly. Also you should consider if in your country a post-doc in a different place is valuable experience to get tenure. You are the only one that can decide.

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A common mistake is to keep on doing the same thing over and over.

When applying to a position, you will then appear to be a one trick pony.

Use the PostDoc to widen your research, collaborate with bed people on new directions, and show that you can now quickly dive into further lines of research.

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