The Sassy Scientist – Run For The Hills

The Sassy Scientist – Run For The Hills

Annalisa is in the final stretch of her PhD. Just a couple of paragraphs to jot down, an introduction to write and some final touches to finalize the figures. Whilst looking around for new opportunities, she comes across an opportunity in her own department. Struggling to decide what to do, she inquires:

Should I do a post-doc as far away as possible from my PhD location?

Dear Annalisa,

Ad Maiora Semper. Don’t hang around. As the title of this very post suggests: run for the hills. The hills of scientific exploration and maturation, that is. Il vero segno dell’intelligenza non è la conoscenza, ma l’immaginazione. In case you describe your experience of fulfilling a PhD project at your department as stimulating, with lots of space for personal growth and networking, and with constructive colleagues easy to connect to, it may be tempting to stay. Stay and study topics you know quite well already. Stay with the people you (kinda) like. Stay in the city you appreciate. The thing is … you should want to grow and acquire new stimuli ma è più dolce la paura. I get that. Have you checked the CVs of some the scientific staff at your department (or those of some other, quite-interesting-looking departments abroad, maybe)? Common denominator; they didn’t stay after finishing their PhD. Did you look at the criterions for acquiring funding? In general, a committee is more likely to grant an application in case it demonstrates that the applicant has a diverse scientific background, with experiences at several institutions, having worked for a couple of ‘geniuses’ and can be trusted to have an inadvertently broad network. Will you tick all those boxes in case you stay at your department? In your cozy apartment? Studying the things you studied? Maybe. It’s just a suggestion, but you could try and sweeten the deal for those reviewers. There’s a good chance you’ll get inspired along the way too.

That said, Ogni pazzo vuol dar consiglio. Don’t just take my word for it. Talk, or in these times videochat, to some people (preferably some from outside your department). Let the people who have experienced that flight out of the ol’ nest talk some sense into you. Yet you need to be open to such thoughts. Disegna una finestra tra le stelle. Maybe you’ll look through it, once, in the not-too-far future.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written whilst looking through that window. Ooooh … the sights!

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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