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003: Should I take a new job or stay where I am?

You may like your job, your boss, and your co-workers, but what happens if a “Dream Job” lands in your lap? Should you leave the safety of your current gig to take a risk on something new?  What if it’s outside of the “norm” or in a slightly different field?

Stuff you do that people won't pay you for is called a "Hobby."  Those are fun too!
Stuff you love to do that people won’t pay you for is called a “Hobby.” Those are fun too!

The answer is rarely simple, but this week we give you some tips on finding your passion, and pursuing it throughout your career. There are a few things you can do today to improve your odds of finding that dream job and landing it when it comes along.

It won’t be easy.   There are some mental and emotional barriers to stepping into the unknown, but we talk about how to overcome them.  And don’t be surprised when your mentors and peers try to discourage you – they’re just projecting their own fears on you!

If you’ve ever faced the question “Should I take a new job?” send us an email and tell us about the options and how you made the decision – we’d love to share your experience on a future episode!

Also in this episode, we celebrate a Hello PhD milestone with a bottle of bubbly, share some love with the scientists who launched the New Horizons probe to Pluto, and uncover the controversial origins of the clavicle.  And you thought it was put there by osteoblasts!

If you’re interested in the IRACDA training program mentioned in this episode, you can find more information here.

002: Post-doc salary, absent PIs, and the secret of landing industry jobs

Proposed rules could boost post-doc salary
Is that guy left-handed? Let’s all watch to find out!

The Obama administration has proposed some new rules that would give overtime pay to salaried workers making less than $50,400 per year.  Who cares?  Many post-docs who make the NIH recommended $42,840 seem to care!

In this episode, we explore whether the new rules would apply to post-docs, and how post-doc salary has stagnated over the last ten years.  If you have a dog in this fight, be sure to register your opinion on the website before the September deadline.

What do you do if you need help in lab, and the PI is never around?  A grad student asks:

I’m doing a rotation in a fairly well-known micro lab, and the PI isn’t around much.  I’m working under a Post-doc, but he’s really busy, and every time I ask for help he tells me he’ll help me later.  I’ve lost a couple of weeks waiting on him – what should I do?

Is an online application good enough to land an industry job, or are there steps you can take to improve your chance of getting noticed?  A job-searching scientists writes:

I’m looking for industry jobs, and I found one that sounds interesting at a local biotech company.  I applied using their online portal, but I’m wondering if there’s something else I can do to improve my chances of getting an interview.

Last but not least, we embrace our inner hipsters by drinking Dale’s Pale Ale and we uncover the hidden meaning of the word “autoclave.”  It doesn’t mean “sterilizer!”

001: Tim Hunt, Lab Rotations, and Teaching vs. Tenure

In this episode:

Tim Hunt incited a firestorm on Twitter last month for making sexist comments about women in lab, and he eventually lost his job over the incident.  We marvel at the intersection between science and social media, and examine the notion of sexism and bias for scientists committed to discovering truth.

We answer questions from established and upcoming PhDs wrestling with tough decisions.  This week, an incoming first year grad student trying to choose lab rotations writes:

“I need to choose three rotations over the next year, and I can’t decide whether I should go with a PI who is kind of new and just getting started, or one who is more established. I like the idea of more personal attention from a new faculty member, but I know the bigger labs tend to publish more and look better on a resume. What should I do?”

And a post-doc currently job searching writes:

“I’m looking at my job prospects at the university level, and I can’t decide: should I go for tenure or non-tenure? What are the pros and cons of each? Would I really be happy just teaching”

For ethanol, we go back to our youth with Yuengling Lager – the “fancy” beer of choice for poor grad students.

And we unpack the word “Yuengling” – learn the meaning behind the beer!