• October 30, 2014
October 30, 2014, 12:46:56 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: To tell the PI you want to leave, or not...  (Read 3135 times)
tired_phd
New member
*
Posts: 2


« on: November 26, 2012, 5:33:42 PM »

Hello forumites,

I'm a long-time lurker but first time poster.  I always find these boards informative, and it's great to find other people in similar situations that I can relate to.

I've just finished the first year of my second post-doc (the first postdoc was just over a year, also).  I entered this postdoc thinking I'd want to stay with academe, apply for a TT position, write grants, etc, but have realized over the last few months that this truly isn't for me.  My P.I. is fabulous, and I really have no complaints, but she also thinks I'm in this for the long haul and am destined to be a professor.

I've been perusing job boards for some time now, and am set on finding a position in industry or at a non-profit that doesn't involve bench work.  So, things like a patent officer, consultant, MSL, and such.

My question is, do I quietly start applying for these positions, or do I let my P.I. know I'm unhappy and that I plan to start looking for alternatives?  The advantage to telling her, I suppose, is that it won't come as a shock if a non-academic employer calls for a reference, but it could also create an awkward work environment in the interim if I don't find a new position, and she knows I'm no longer committed to the job.  I'm just not sure what to do.

Thanks to any of you who might be able to provide advice!
Logged
frogfactory
Totally Metal
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 10,600


« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 6:04:50 PM »

I think this depends a great deal on you PI and your relationship with her.  If you do tend to talk about your professional aspirations, I err on the side of telling her how you really feel.  But without more information about your relationship, it's hard to judge.
Logged


At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to masturbate in the bathroom.
miss_jane_marple
Confused Wasp and
Senior member
****
Posts: 941

I prefer the chocolates


« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 6:11:53 PM »

You seem to have made up your mind, but I will toss this out, anyway: it appears from your post that the alternatives you are considering have come from looking at vacancy announcements. If that is the case, I suggest that you do a bit more research by speaking with people who occupy such positions -- the much-ignored "informational interviews" that career counselors adore -- to find out more about what the real-life challenges and rewards actually are. If you're already doing this, that's great.

Quote
do I quietly start applying for these positions, or do I let my P.I. know I'm unhappy and that I plan to start looking for alternatives?

First, make sure you are sure that this is the direction in which you want to move. Next, instead of applying to anything for which you might be marginally qualified, try to find a few positions that seem interesting and a good fit for your skills. Look into the employer, the location, the work, whatever is relevant. When you have a firm plan of action and a few good leads, that is the time to approach your PI about acting as a reference for you.

At no time should you say you are unhappy. It will not help you if you give the appearance that you are reluctantly looking for just any old job because you don't like working for this boss. You should give the impression that, after thinking about your skills and goals, the job change will provide you with the venue needed to advance your career and make a real contribution to whatever.

Seriously, the only reason to tell your boss you are unhappy is if you expect them to say, "Oh, no, I'm so sorry! What can I do to make you happy here?" If that's what you want, that's an entirely different discussion.
Logged

We love diversity--as long as it's not diversity of opinion.
offthemarket
Still a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,851


« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 6:30:37 PM »

I would recommend not telling anything to the PI, even if you have a great and open relationship.

The moment the PI thinks that you're going to be getting out of academia, fewer opportunities and resources will be coming your way. Presumably if you're solid in your postdoc position and getting the job done effective you would stay on, but ultimately it would limit your options.
Logged
tired_phd
New member
*
Posts: 2


« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 6:34:55 PM »

Thanks to everyone for the responses so far.  To clarify, I have conducted several informational interviews recently, in several fields, so I feel more prepared to make a decision as to which direction I would like to go.  However, I'd also like to leave some options open.

My PI and I have a good relationship - not personable (she's very business-like, which is fine with me) but she's always been supportive of my research and offers constructive feedback, is generous with resources, and very fair with everyone who works for her.  We talk on a regular basis about scientific progress, but rarely about career aspirations (other than my stating that I would like to pursue an academic career when I first interviewed for her lab).

I will keep all of your advice in mind, thank you again!
Logged
recovering_academic
New member
*
Posts: 22


« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 12:38:45 PM »

I would not utter a word for fear you will be branded forever as a malcontent.

I made the mistake of once saying to my advisor that I would be open to doing other lines of work with my degree, not just teaching - from that point on I was always treated as a sojourner by the dept.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.