A talented postdoc should be able to add their own unique perspective to the research, and they should see their role as an opportunity to be creative and to add value. However, as we plow through CVs and resumes we find applicants who expect a course to be laid out, or a lab to be already established. That’s never the case with a start up. There are so many uncertainties and variables that can lead to failure or bankruptcy. Therefore, finding a postdoc who understands this and can navigate these obstacles is critical.
More than 50% of students drop out of STEM programs due to the intense ranking systems. Academic careers are marred by this effect and increasingly hold people in this mindset to feel inadequate until they’ve proven themselves. Most often this train of thought can extend well into their future career.
Your mental energy matters significantly, because knowledge work requires deep concentration and creativity. Many young research scientists struggle with time management, not only as a product of time, but that of mental energy. The cognitive load that one experiences can be tremendous, especially when it comes to intellectual focus and decision making. This is a critical resource that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The results can be catastrophic when we’re deciding whether to invest our time into completing a manuscript or completing another assay. Therefore, we need to make room to reserve our most critical thinking during times where we’re most refreshed and focused.
Many times, it’s not so much the changes that are difficult, it’s the purpose behind those changes that make it difficult. If we align the big goals and cause of our resolutions to our overall vision of who we want to be, the tasks associated with it become increasingly small and manageable.
A lot of times we try to rationalize our fears about moving out of our comfort zone by making a list of pros and cons. Sometimes we make up more reasons for the cons, like financial security, project completion, or friends/family.