I'm a graduating PhD student looking for academic postdocs. So far, I've tried (soft-)applying to positions I found advertised online, applying for a grant and asking my PI for help. None of this has worked (yet). Especially the part with my PI has not been productive - they want me to stay for a year and apply for grants, I do not want this and it did not work for his last student who tried it.

Is it rude to explicitly ask people in my extended academic circle for help finding postdocs? My logic is that while they don't have open positions, they might know people who do. I don't want to be rude and impose on them, but I'm starting to get desperate.

  • 2
    This is called "networking", and it's an important part of the toolkit for finding jobs. Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 16:03
  • In what sense did the stay and apply for grants not work out? I assume the student didn't get a grant but if the professor paid them for the year they still got one year of being paid to do research and the possibility to continue looking on the job market for longer.
    – quarague
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can certainly ask others for help and support. Your PI is behaving unethically if they are inhibiting your career for their own ends. Sadly there is little/nothing you can do that won't cause yourself harm, though.

But, yes, make it known in your circle that you are looking for a position and would appreciate any help or hints, or leads on jobs. Don't rule out a tenable position, however. They are hard to get these days, but sometimes it happens. Good luck.

No, it isn't rude to ask for help.

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