I am a first-year postdoc and I am currently structuring my summer plans for travel/conferences/etc.
May already includes a 2 week international trip of a one-week workshop and two seminar talks. June includes 2 one-week conferences domestically. July includes a 2 week international jumbo conference. August includes at least a one-week international research visit. If I did all the conferences pencilled into my calendar, I would be gone for 3 weeks in September.
To top it all off, there's a few more invites that just occurred for a week long summer school in June and a colloquium invitation in August. Both international.
I have been told that "you do not say no until tenure," but this seems too much to handle. At some point I have to sit down and do research, keep up with collaborations, and recover from travel. To be fair, I love travel, I am single, and I do not have a child or pet, so I have no obligations for being home; however, I am fearful of burning out. I am in mathematics, so there's no need for a lab and could potentially do work on the road but I am much more efficient when with my collaborators at home or at their home institution (which is not where these things are).
So the chain of questions here:
- At what point does one have too much travel? Should I just pack my bags and try to learn how to research on the road?
- When can one say no?
- Do people care about what conferences you have been to and if they are on the CV or just about speaking? Is there a point where more invited talks hits a point of diminishing returns?