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My current postdoc position will end in few months, so I started to apply for another postDoc position abroad. Shortly, if I would get the second position, there might be about two months overlap between them.

What is your advise on how to deal with it? What I am considering:

  1. End the first job two months earlier, and start the new one.
  2. Keep both positions during those two months: start the full-time the second one and continue the first one on weekends, until it "dies" naturally.

I think the most honest would be the first option (opt#1). However, as my manuscripts were submitted for publication, I will work on them no matter where I end up (likely the second position). The finalization of those manuscripts is my main responsibility, and I cannot be sure about the each review processing time and schedule.

In this case, I would get at least paid for my publication finalizing (opt#2), which would not happen if I will officially quit my first postdoc earlier (opt#1). And I can use two affiliations during the time overlap.

Should I notify my future employer about my postdocs position overlap and my potential plan to keep two affiliations?

My expertise is in ecology, therefore I am transferring neither extra secret information nor some commercial patents between positions.

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    Acknowledging two affiliations (i.e., on a manuscript) or finishing work at Institution B that you started at Institution A is not quite the same as being paid by two institutions at the same time without some understanding between you them (e.g. a partial appointment in each). Can you clarify what you are asking about?
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 31 '18 at 19:37
  • @BryanKrause, my question targets the possibility to continue on a publications within the Institute A, while working at Institute B. I appreciate your interpretation of "finishing work somewhere else" but I don't think that this is my case. I have completed all my duties within position at Institute A, and little projects I am working on now are under my leadership and go beyond my formal duties.
    – maycca
    Oct 31 '18 at 20:42
  • If you are being paid at institute A, you are being paid to do something there, even if you feel like you have completed all your duties. I'd recommend not being paid at the same time by two different institutions, and rather ask Institution A if they have a way for you to temporarily maintain affiliation with them (this is not uncommon).
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 31 '18 at 20:52
  • Thank you @BryanKrause, that's what I will do.
    – maycca
    Oct 31 '18 at 21:21
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Around here (in Nordic countries), many institutions and non-academic workplaces include terms about informing the employer of other work besides the one the contract is for. As such, I would be contractually obliged to inform the university that I am also emplyed (presumably full-time) by another institute. Since both of them would have a claim to my full time work, it would be unlikely that I could satisfy that requirement, I would expect them to not accept the situation.

In your case, I would discuss the situation with my current and future superior and give up one position at the same time as starting the other, so that I am only employed once. At least in mathematics, there is typically flexibility to adjust the starting and ending times of the contracts by a month or two, as convenient for everyone.

Also, you can just resign. Out of courtesy, as Buffy noted, please make a clean exit where you finish as much unfinished business as possible and take care that all duties you have (teaching, running a seminar, etc.) are transferred to someone else. Make sure your data or code is available and documented and your collaborators and superiors know where to find it, if this is relevant in your field and country.


At least in pure and applicable mathematics, it is expected for one to continue previous research projects at the new institute. This might be very different if you are hired for a concrete job as a part of a team, but I would guess that most academic jobs allow a measure of flexibility in the matter, as outside collaborations are usually valued. Discuss with your future supervisor if you are in doubt.

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You don't mention whether you have obligations that you need to fulfill in the first job. You need to deal with any of that, of course and not leave others hanging if they depend on you.

One option you have is to inform the supervisor of your current position that you have another offer and that they overlap. They might ok not resigning early if they want to be acknowledged in a certain way on your publication when it is finished.

But if you take the second position while still having obligations in the first, then the second employer might object that you can't spend full efforts on the new position. They should probably be informed, even if informally in a conversation. I suspect that if the only "obligation" is to finish a paper, that it wouldn't be a blocking issue.

I suspect that if you are valued by both institutions, one for your past work and the other for your expected contributions, that something can be worked out.

But it seems to me, at least, to be a mistake to just make a decision without either institution having any input. But the underlying situation is common enough that both places have probably dealt with it before.

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  • Thank you @Buffy, yes, I will definitely inform both employers. Of course, my current teamleader is acknowledged about my application for the second position, as he provided me a reference letter. My main responsibilities now is to publish one manuscript.
    – maycca
    Oct 31 '18 at 20:36

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