If I do not want the status quo, I must not do what is “normal”.
I’ve heard many quotes similar to this and I think they are pretty accurate. Although I respect it immensely and really have a soft spot for academia, I do not want to be an academic professor in the long run. Therefore, I have not pursued the post-doctoral route for my next position, which feels like a blessing and a curse. My hope is to enter the biotech/biopharma industry straight out of my PhD program. I have no illusions that it is in anyway easy to skip the post-doc, and I also understand the value of doing a post-doc. However, when I ask myself if it matches my short- and long-term goals, the answer is typically “No”.
And there are many factors entering this decision, but primarily, I want to experience R&D in a company. I know it is different than in academia. Along with this, I enjoy supporting my fellow researchers as much, if not more, than conducting my own personal experiment. If the work I produce goes on to help more people than just myself, I consider work worth doing.
Will I be able to combine support, science, communication, and strategy into my next job? I am currently on the job market, interviewing at a good pace, so I expect to hear back about a couple of opportunities in the very near future. A post-doctoral research position is supposed to be the ultimate training position, just prior to becoming a new laboratory head and/or faculty member. Although I am forgoing a post-doc, I will consider my next position to be a professional training position or sorts, perhaps with more at stake. That’s perfect, I perform better with more on the line.