An academic’s outlook on the job market, after two years searching for a research position
Today’s entry is a short blog discussing a Psychology researcher’s quest for a research-focused academic position. Perhaps not surprisingly, the conclusion is that the job market is horrible, and finding a good academic job requires both an outstanding set of accomplishments (something few of us, realistically, have), and a very healthy dose of luck. What I found most insightful about this particular article was the conclusion “I am not as awesome as I thought I was.” In my case, I have known for quite a while that my research accomplishments were lackluster. I chose poor projects, sometimes poor advisers, and lacked the motivation to turn those into really great publications. I meandered my way though academia without focus or an eye for how I would turn those amassed research experiences into a strong, focused research program that could form the basis for an accomplished research group. Unfortunately, I believe that many people in academia share my lack of vision, yet still expect the research jobs to be available. The reality is that they won’t. Even those who are extremely accomplished can go years of postdocs and pavement-pounding before getting the mystical combination of luck and “a good fit” to find a traditional academic research career. Have even a few blips along the way, and you can pretty much forget about it.