154

It looks to me like you did not do so badly as you think. Two publications and 3.7 GPA are not so bad. It might depend on the field, it might not be the best ever, but I have seen much worse. If your supervisor offered you a postdoc position after having you for 6 years as a PhD student, it means that they consider your work useful. You might be suffering ...


38

To be honest, I'm tempted to agree with Buffy. It sounds like the biggest issue you have might actually be the one you identified at the start of your post - low self-confidence. Studying for a PhD, and working in academia in general, has a tendency to have that effect on people - you're far from alone. If I were you, I'd be tempted to take stock of my ...


29

You have: the highest possible academic degree that one can achieve a job in the field a life in a developed country You're faring really well. This is not to say that what you're feeling isn't real. It is real, and there is a problem. It's just that the problem is not what you have, but who you are. What you have is a highly successful life, at the same ...


17

Funders are allowed to make their own rules. Typically they try to be as fair as possible, but there will always be some 'edge effects' where the rules have unintended consequences. In the case of Marie Curie grants, there is an explicit intention to draw in people from across the entire EU (and beyond). As such, the rules need to accommodate the wide ...


13

You need to talk to someone – be that a counsellor (as @Buffy has suggested in the comments), a family member, a friend, or even (depending on your relationship) your supervisor. It does sound like a good part (if not most!) of the problem you describe may stem from impostor syndrome, and if that's the case, then it will be crucial to have others as a ...


12

I don't see the issue. You claim it's elitism, but it may simply be practical: A place for the permanent employees of the department. It's not a secret that the permanent employees have a bigger stake in the long-term working of such a space than temporary postdocs, graduate students, or undergraduates. I would gladly leave my professional books in a lounge ...


7

This is simply a question of target audience. Marie-Curie grants are designed so that some applicants will choose the grant over a mediocre tenure track position (with the hope to get a better permanent position afterwards). The grant comes with funding and salary to match that experience level. Trying to apply for a Marie-Curie directly after your PhD is ...


6

Your #1 goal is to find a real post-doc position, so think of why that hasn't happened yet if you have been out trying for a while. Next is finishing up those papers, since that may help with the #1 goal. Further, once you do get another position where you want to chase after new things, you will find that time slips away. Anything else is gravy. Do not ...


5

Specialize, focus and diversify your research agenda solely on 2-3 open questions/problems the next years. There is not really another path. Especially in fundamental sciences it's hard to plan an academic career, so you have to take risks, therefore diversify them. And this is also encouraged by the academic system to achieve results beyond the state of the ...


5

I would use research fellow as your title in English and in German use whatever your contract says or research fellow as well. That leaves out the slightly awkward postdoctoral part. In general, unlike a doctorate, using the title 'postdoc' is not something that people in academia worry a lot about (and outside academia many people will have no idea what ...


5

A top-three institution will certainly have experience with hiring international postdocs, and it is likely they have a standard process for doing so. In my opinion, you can ask your PI to advance the process without worrying about sounding skeptical. You might simply sound excited or eager instead. How about an email like: Dear PI, Thank you for your kind ...


5

They are marathon runners on arrival. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSZlSaPJAdQ Do they look well? Can you imagine, how bad feeling could it be, being there, after 42km of running? But believe me: it is uncomparably better to be there, than for us, watching them on the youtube. Don't do any irrecoverable mistake now! Wait, at least some months, more ...


5

Get your frame of reference right. Achieving a PhD puts you in the 5% highest educated part of the population. That's quite significant. But you're comparing yourself to the smartest people in your direct environment - an environment set up try to get together all the smartest people. If you don't manage to be in the top 1%, surely being in the top 5% is ...


3

Give yourself some time You just finished an important step in your career, which has presumably taken you between 3 and 7 years. Congratulations! For a while, it is normal to feel like celebrating your achievement instead of going on with everyday research and making important decisions. It is even more normal to have doubts about the next step. Try to ...


3

As I am sure you expected, this is a highly personal decision that nobody can make for you. Since you seem to be based in Europe (you are talking about ERC), I will frame my answer in the context of applying in Europe: Your point that "you are the man" at a lower-ranked university when you bring in a high-reputation grant may be accurate, but you also need ...


3

I think it's fine to call yourself a postdoctoral researcher. After all, that is the job you are doing. As cbeleites' answer points out, a PhD isn't a hard prerequisite for the job, so calling yourself a postdoctoral researcher does not imply that you are a doctor.


2

This is a great question, even though it connects to the very general question of how you get established as an independent researcher. It is never too early to have your own research interests and take your own ideas seriously. It is not really different from having hobbies, only that here you take the hobby idea seriously. Ideally in your post-doc you ...


2

Mr. (presumably) Bob, computer scientist, researcher. You may throw in your MSc (computer science) or Dipl.-Inf. - whichever it is in your case. For many (most?) such positions (my experience is Italy/Germany) the PhD isn't a hard prerequisite. The actual prerequisite is that you have the required research abilities, and having a PhD is one way to show that ...


2

Just ask, actually. But a good way would be to ask for a list of publications of the group and a list of colleagues you would be working with. You could then introduce yourself to one or more of them and ask for information so that you don't need to ask too much of the PI. Some groups will have already made some or all of this available on a web site ...


2

I know what it's like to feel like you "haven't been living" for years. Six years of my life disappeared by my being extremely sick. I have 5 years of unemployment in my résumé, an unfinished PhD, a tiny professional network, and ongoing health problems which make many things impossible. But I'm living again. Some people have been in prison for 10 years. ...


2

Your career isn't going to depend on Python. I love the language but it would be poor use of your time. The answer of Jon Custer is the core of it, but I would also suggest that you spend time building a circle of collaborators and professional contacts. Use your advisor's base to develop your own. Reach out to people with similar interests. Attend any ...


2

Actually, I'd recommend that you start now. And also that you apply for tenure track positions in parallel. There is no reason to wait for either. Make sure that when any position in your field gets opened, that you know about it. Don't focus your search too narrowly. And so some things that give you visibility in addition to submitting papers. Attend ...


2

What you are feeling is very normal. Similarly, when a marathon runner completes a successful race they just collapse for a bit. The need for intensity has ended and the body and/or mind want a break. I'd suggest that you don't worry to much about the feeling, as it is very likely to pass in time. But, you have things you need to do to continue with your ...


1

I wasted 5 years of my life doing my PhD in a niche field with minimal application or relevance. I finished with only one low-impact publication, wasn't on speaking terms with my supervisors, and had racked up a lot of debt. Due to the effects of the global financial crisis I worked as a gardener for another 3 years which was a money-losing enterprise. Job ...


1

I'll leave the "why are the MSC requirements like this" question to the other answers, and focus on the "Are there any other EU-wide fellowships for STEM which could fill the gap?" I'm not aware of any EU-wide programs, but you don't needed an EU wide program, you need one that is EU-wide, you just need one in the country of your intended host ...


1

You can try to argue that the last year of your undergraduate counts, if you did something like research experiences for undergraduates. I was a MC fellow in 2002-2004 and at the time of applying was in the last of 5 years of graduate school, having spent 4 years in a combination of research, taking courses, and working as a teaching assistant. So hardly "...


1

Rather than just look at the requirements for the PhD itself, you need to consider the entire educational system behind it. The reason for coursework in a US doctorate is that people can enter with only a BS/BA. And the bachelors degree win the US is a generalists, not a specialists degree, often with little research in it. The coursework is there to give a ...


1

Unfortunately I expect this is a mistake on the university's part. Many people apply for postdocs in the final year of their PhD, so perhaps they misinterpreted your CV and thought you were in that category. There is likely to be a requirement in the formal job description that candidates must have, or be near to completing a PhD, so even if you were to ...


1

This is a really good question and something that a lot of researchers struggle with. I've written an article about this my self. There are many different ways to discover a new research topic. The first thing you need to ask yourself is, what interest YOU as opposed to what is currently trendy or where all the funding is going. Being aware of funding is of ...


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