Competitive sports and science not so different after all

The Winter Olympics are one of the most exciting athletic events—it’s a culmination of the world’s top athletes putting on their best performances after years of hard work and training! Not to mention, the sports are so intense and dramatic: big air, big wipeouts, big  … 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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Four guideposts for navigating difficult conversations with your PI

No matter how well you get along with your mentor, there will likely come a time when you have to discuss something that is difficult to bring up. It could be anything from concerns about your progress and mentorship or asking for time off (especially  … 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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Resiliency and the Impact of Self-Efficacy

Caroline leads a research team in a multinational corporation that develops medical equipment. She holds a PhD in biomedical engineering and has worked for this company for more than a decade. When I first met her I found her intelligent, motivated, confident, and expecting a  … Read more

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The Postdoc Lab Search: Becoming a Little Fish in a Big Pond

I grew up in New England about an hour outside of Boston. But an aversion to cold dreary winters and other life events led me to explore new parts of the country for my undergraduate and graduate work, eventually leading me to attend the University  … Read more

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