I currently have a one year fixed term contract in the department where I studied for my PhD. It is due to finish in April. It is not ideal for my career development as it involves no opportunities for teaching. Recently another one year fixed contract has been advertised in the department which is ideal for me, absolutely my subject area and involves lecturing and all the duties that I would hope to develop. Is it bad form to apply, as it would mean leaving my current post in September if I was successful? It would give me an additional six months of work if I was successful however.

I don't want to get a bad reputation though! It is in the same department so my current boss would know I have applied.

3 Answers 3


I don't think it is bad form to apply. Some people would say the same opinion but much more strongly.

Your boss should understand that a one-year postdoc is hard because you have to start applying for new jobs almost as soon as they start it. If they don't realize this you can tell them.


Are you in the US? It is probably fine to apply, the new fixed term will not overlap with your current one it sounds like. But you should also apply outside of the university where you did your PhD. In the US, this doesn't look very good to stick around for two years. You want to do a postdoc somewhere else and establish some independence.


It certainly is not bad form

It usually takes about six-months to go through a recruitment procedure in academia (sometimes longer), so if you're only on a one-year contract, it's not even bad form to start looking for your next position as soon as you start. An employer who offers you a one-year contract is not willing to commit to a long-term employment relationship --- in such a circumstance it is perfectly reasonable that you would be looking for alternative positions that offer you either a more secure position, or even just a continuance of employment beyond your present contract period. If they expect some greater loyatly from you, they can show you greater loyalty by offering a long-term or permanent position.

As to the overlap between the positions, it is usual in a recruitment process that the interviewer will want to know when you can start in the position if selected. It is widely accepted that you ought to be given the liberty of a reasonable notice period in respect to your previous position (e.g., four weeks), but in some cases you might have more wiggle-room than this (especially in this case, where they are at the same insitution). In cases where the recruitment process itself is slow, you are probbly going to be able to negotiate a reasonable period before starting, if that is something you want.

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