Tuesday, December 3, 2013

bubble phds looking for postdocs

Like most faculty, I'm pretty regularly bombarded with emails from people looking for graduate student and postdoc positions in my lab. One thing that has really started getting on my nerves are grad students and postdocs looking for a postdoc position in my lab like I just have money to through around. For qualified people, which most of them are not for my research, I usually reply back saying that I don't have funding, but that I would be happy to help them apply for external fellowships to work in my lab. What boggles my mind is the standard reply  that I receive back: great, what are some fellowships that I can apply for? Umm, you are about to get your PhD or already have one, you want to get a postdoc position, and you haven't bothered to look at fellowship options and you can't be bothered to do some research on your own? How about writing me: I'm looking for postdoc positions and I'm planning to apply for such and such fellowship so that I could work in your lab. Would you be willing to be my mentor or be listed as a potential supervisor. I'd be all over that.

When I was applying for postdoc positions, I was told to offer to write fellowship applications when I applied for positions so that I didn't look like some moocher that just wants money. Especially in engineering, where postdoc positions are relatively short 1-2 years normally, the last thing most faculty need is to pay a person to be in there lab that is actively looking for another position, because that is what most engineering postdocs are doing. They are thinking about their future independent research and applying for faculty jobs, not devoting all their time to their current project.

I'm more than happy to help you get your own money, but at least try to make some effort. You are not the hot shit that you think you are where I just absolutely have to hire you to work in my lab. Why aren't faculty telling their students about how to do these things?