What’s next after a PhD?

Dear Labby, I am about 18 months from filing my PhD thesis (finally) and I am considering my post-PhD options. I am thinking not only about a postdoc but also about whether to join a company directly. With a postdoc, I might be competitive for  … Read more

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Great expectations

Dear Labby, I have just joined a top research lab for my postdoc. I was very successful in graduate school, where my advisor gave me complete freedom to come and go as I pleased and attend whatever functions I wanted. Now, in the first week,  … Read more

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How to tell your department chair you’re leaving

Dear Labby, I was recently promoted to associate professor in an urban private medical school. After celebrating, I had to acknowledge that although I love my current scientific community, the prohibitive cost of city living as the parent of two school-aged kids has meant that  … Read more

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The Collaborating Trailing Spouse

Dear Labby, I am the “trailing” spouse. When it was time for my wife and me to get “real” jobs we decided that if we did not get two positions at the same place, one of us would become a technician/research professor in the other’s  … Read more

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Negotiating for the Long Term

Dear Labby, I am in the admittedly enviable position of negotiating the terms of my first academic faculty position. My postdoc advisor has suggested that I negotiate aggressively and forcefully to get as much as possible on all fronts—for salary, start-up funding, ideal teaching responsibilities,  … Read more

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Beyond Tenure: The Path to Professorship

Dear Labby, I know that your usual queries come from those establishing careers and dealing with many issues in and outside their institutions. I am now a couple of steps up on the academic ladder: I have a faculty position at a Midwestern research-intensive university,  … Read more

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Constraints on Teaching

Dear Labby, I am a postdoc and I recently signed up to teach an undergraduate seminar course in my department. The course is organized by a senior professor (who is a very prominent scientist). While preparing my course materials, I was dismayed to learn that  … Read more

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Vacation—When and How Much?

Dear Labby, I am a second-year graduate student and get on very well with my PI. We are very excited, as together we have made a fundamental discovery in our competitive field. In fact, I am about to start writing a major paper as the  … Read more

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Negotiating Your Salary and Start-up Package

Dear Labby, I have been offered an assistant professorship in a first-rate biomedical center and am very excited. The stimulating environment, the colleagues, the balance of teaching and research, and the community all seem really good and could be an excellent mix for me, my  … Read more

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Lab Language

Dear Labby, I’m an assistant professor going into my third year at a U.S. university. I recently received the comments from our promotion and tenure committee. The overall review of my package showed that I was on track for tenure and promotion, except in one  … Read more

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