Its always slow starting in a new lab. Especially when you’re coming in with vague goals / direction. I’m not sure how others have found their post-doc positions. From what I have read, most take a lot of time to think about what they want to do, academically speaking. What skills do they want to learn? What new model systems do they want to explore? Do they want to continue in the field they did their PhD work, but examine the questions from a different perspective? When thinking about these things, they probably researched many different PI’s, examined their research program, asked about their track record regarding mentoring, asking where former post-docs have landed. Collecting data to answer the question , is this a PI someone that will move my scientific career forward?
Yeah I did not do any of that.
I know I want to go into the management of research, either in a not-for-profit or an industry sector. I’ve been looking for some positions after completing my PhD, but hiring takes awhile and I could not go with out a paycheque. My strong need for income led me to approach a PI that works in flies to see if they needed help shoring up some projects. The benefits being that I am well trained Drosophilist with amazing microscopy skills so I could start immediately, didn’t need training and could be producing data in a week. S/he didn’t need anyone but she passed my CV to another local PI who was looking for some hands. I’ve been hired to help move a project along so I am back at the bench. Except its not a fly lab or a lab working on anything I did during my PhD, so that whole hit the ground running? Not happening. Instead, I am adjusting to learning about a new field, learning the workings of a new lab, and basically feeling like a newbie grad student all over again. Twitter has said this is normal and I “know” that it is. It just is such an odd feeling walking into work and not having a list of things I must do today. I come in and read papers. Then I contact x about training y. wait. Contact A about D. wait.
The research is interesting, the lab folk are really nice. The next few months will demonstrate whether I LOVE the bench or if I’m really done with it. Which direction do you think I am leaning?