I have been accepted for postdoc position. According the detail of postdoc

the successful candidate will begin in January 2019

What does it mean? Can I start my work at any time of January? Am I right?

  • 3
    We have no idea what your contract says and what does your employer expect. So you have the ask the employer instead of overthinking it. It's a straightforward and valid question that does not cause any harm to ask.
    – user68958
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:49
  • It may be flexible, esp. given the phrasing, but the best course of action is I think to ask whoever is your point of contact in the institution.
    – Clement C.
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:49

2 Answers 2


I would presume that you have to inquire with the lab/director/hiring manager/program manager to fix the actual start date by mutual agreement. You can't normally just choose unilaterally, and they may have a fixed date in mind. In general, the hiring entity decides on the employee's start date.


In my experience (Western Europe), this means "on the first working day in January". You could try to discuss with the professor if you can start at a later day — this may or may not be possible. (In my experience, some professors also give you the first days "unofficially" off — for relocation, which is sadly often necessary for postdoc positions.)

Good luck!

  • It could be "first eligible working day" too. Some places have mandatory onboarding/safety training, which isn't necessarily offered every week.
    – Anyon
    Dec 15, 2018 at 20:51
  • Interesting, I've never heard about this in the context of university employees. Thank you for the comment!
    – Hatschu
    Dec 15, 2018 at 20:53

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