A friend and fellow researcher is currently trying to decide whether or not to hang up her PI lab coat and move completely into the clinical side of her job. She’s had trouble securing an R01, is about to run out of funding through other mechanisms, and can take cover under hospital support for only a short time longer. Another job that would replace her research time has now been offered, and we talked today about her options. The biggest question was, in the current funding market, how much longer can she wait for the money to show up? I provided as much encouragement and advice as I knew how. Of course, I’m asking the same questions of myself right now.
As of today, I’ve gotten 5 rejections out of the 22 job applications I’ve sent out. I figure there are a few more jobs that have slipped away – I just won’t hear anything because some search committees don’t feel the need to inform you of jack. So that leaves 10 to 15 jobs that might still be in the works.
I also received an email this morning stating that my days as a postdoc at MRU are numbered. I basically have until the end of 2011 to move on, or my mentor will have to promote my unemployable ass. If he does promote me, my time in his lab still has an expiration date since he’s retiring very soon.
I know it’s too early to be freaking out. The rejections I’ve received were for long-shot jobs, and the apps that are still out include jobs for which I really would be a good fit. But the possibility of leaving the academic research track becomes more real every day that goes by without an interview invite. I don’t know that I can or should give the TT search a third year if this round doesn’t work out. Hubby and I are ready to start our lives. As long as I’m out on this crappy job market, I’m keeping that all on hold.
On the other hand, I hate the thought of walking away. I love my project. I love learning more about the system I work on. I love coming into work each day knowing that I could discover something that nobody else knows. I love teaching and watching younger scientists develop. I love writing grants and papers (yeah, I know – I’m crazy). How can I leave all this?