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I am a US-based researcher and was offered a position as a postdoctoral researcher at a Swedish institute. The offer came in December, and I have negotiated some terms, which the school accepted. All of this happened via email and very quick. As the school accepted the various terms exactly as I wanted, I decided to accept the offer and wrote back saying that I will be joining the team.

Now, this is where the issue comes in. I know I need to file some paper work to proceed, which exact steps I am not yet sure about. I have sent two emails inquiring about the issue to the professor in charge, but I have not gotten any response back.

I find it strange that my emails are being ignored and this is making me worried. Some acquaintances over in Stockholm has suggested that because many people take time off during the holidays, things can slow down considerably in December-January (I haven't been there and I have no idea how things work there), but it is almost end of January and I do need to get the paper work done soon to be able to relocate on time. What should I do?

  • When did you send your two e-mails? One week or four weeks ago? Did your e-mails actually require some time from their part to answer you? In addition they must have some administrator, phone him/her, if you don't want to call the professor in charge. – user8458 Jan 23 '14 at 20:18
  • The first email was sent approximately four weeks ago, and since I did not get a response, I sent another one to follow up two weeks ago. – socialsciencedoc Jan 23 '14 at 20:19
  • 3
    Phone them then. – user8458 Jan 23 '14 at 20:27
  • There is definitely a Dec/Jan slowdown in Scandinavia, but here in Denmark folks are back in the office even though classes don't resume until February. I would suggest getting in touch with a department secretary or HR department person, as they'll inevitably handle all of your employment and moving details anyway (rather than a professor). Also, you should probably expect a formal contract letter, so if you don't have that, it may still be in process at the HR level. – Thomas Jan 23 '14 at 20:31
  • Between 23 December and 6 January, as well as during the months of July and August, Sweden is closed. Outside that period, you should be able to communicate with officials. – gerrit Jan 23 '14 at 20:38
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It's time to get the phone!

If you know some people working in your future institute, try to catch them by Skype. You can also look for some assistant or secretary telephone number in the institute. As long as you don't call by midnight, nobody will be annoyed by your call.

Yes, in Europe, things usually slow down in December / January, and mails accumulate or get trapped in spam filters. So, when in doubt, try and make a phone call.

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