Postdoc-ing again: Part I – The hustle

I had been in my current postdoc position for about a year and a half and I knew it was time I started looking again, for a second postdoc position. In preparation for this, I applied for a relevant conference months in advance. I then set about to prepare for my poster presentation. During the conference, I talked to as many people as I could, with the whole intention of networking. I did meet at least one junior faculty member who was working in the same field as me. There were some good discussions during lunch and dinner, but I was not able to meet anyone who was interesting enough and who had a postdoc position available. I knew then that I should have done more research on the participants of the conference and made a list of potential employers.

Towards the end of the conference, I did meet one professor from England who was in exactly the same field as me, was interested in the same kinds of problems, was very accomplished, had a decent number of papers in reputed journals and the best part, he advertised for a postdoc position! It met every single criteria on my list. He even had experimental collaborators. After his talk, I worked up enough courage to go and ask him a question. He was interested in talking about it. I subsequently sat with him for lunch and we discussed some more science with another Professor as well. Finally, after lunch, I asked him about the coveted postdoc position that he had mentioned at the end of his talk. He looked at my CV right there and showed interest. I had struck gold!

After I went back, I wrote to him regarding application for the Marie Curie Fellowship. He agreed to be my host and we worked on a proposal. It was going very well at this stage. In the mean time, I also got my postdoctoral contract extended by 7 months. This gave me enough buffer time and I started applying for positions to various other labs as well.

In the beginning, I was only applying to places that had been advertised during the conference. I got one interview call from a not-so-great place. The interview, as far as I could tell, went really great. I gave a presentation, was asked a lot of questions, and I believe I had satisfactory explanations for all of them. But, about 3 weeks later, they told me I was not the best fit.

I was a little perplexed as to how that had happened. But, on the suggestion of my PhD advisor, I decided to move on.

Geek Girl

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