Is an Academic Career Just a Dream?

Dear Labby, I am a fifth-year cell biology graduate student doing basic research at a major research university. I am ambitious, worked hard during my rotations, and was rewarded by being accepted into the best-known lab in our department. It has been a lot of  … Read more

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Tone deaf?

Dear Labby, As a first-year woman medical student, I have appreciated my medical school’s efforts to mitigate unconscious bias. However, today in my pathology lab I had an experience that made me feel belittled and uncomfortable. One of my lab’s preceptors, Dr. XY, an older  … Read more

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Balancing demands as a new faculty member

Dear Labby, I am just completing my first semester as an assistant professor. After five years as an international postdoc I thought that this time would never happen. We now live in a relatively rural part of the United States, in contrast to our former  … Read more

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How to join the conversation

Dear Labby, I am a second-year PhD student who joined a large lab full of confident and opinionated senior graduate students and postdocs. I find the environment stimulating and my lab-mates interesting and funny, and I love my research project. However, I was raised in  … Read more

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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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