Treating a Tenure-Track Faculty Position Like Another Postdoc

For many postdocs, there’s a lot of tension surrounding the transition to a tenure-track faculty position.  And rightfully so since this is one of the most crucial junctures in our academic careers.  We ask ourselves, “Will I be able to work at the institution I want?  Do I have the credentials?  Will I be able to get tenure in 4-7 years?  What happens if I don’t?”

A blog post was published last year from Scientific American that aims to upend how we look at starting faculty positions.  In her article, “The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life,” Dr. Radhika Nagpal urges us to focus on what matters.  An academic faculty position is a dream job for some, so why spend the entire time worrying about meeting the right people, serving on enough committees, and jumping through all of the hoops of what you are supposed to do?

With a few hard-and-fast ground rules, and a supportive family, Dr. Nagpal created work-life balance for herself.  She had to prioritize her work, and say no to many opportunities, but she also got to take scientific risks that have paid off.  If you’re at all interested in an academic career, or not sure it would be for you, give this article a read.

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