Everyone knows how tough it is to climb the ladder as an early career researcher.
It was a point that was spelled out again in a recent Times Higher Education article (“Postdoc blues: how do you know when it is time to give up?”), which described the inner conflict that keeps many postdocs trapped in an “endless mental loop” of unfulfilled aspiration.
The conflict exists between their hopes for a future in scientific research on the one hand and the reality of academia on the other. And sooner or later, young researchers have to decide what to do about it.
The established powers within academia keep telling us that something will work out eventually, as long as we do not give up and keep working as hard as possible. But is it realistic to expect brutal honesty from mentors who are themselves part of the system?
Wouldn’t it be better to seek advice from external experts? From people who are familiar with tricky situations in another context, perhaps?
In some ways, the postdoc question has parallels with those in an unhappy relationship. The love-match in question is between young researchers and academia: a great romance blighted by commitment fears and threatened by harsh reality.
So where better to ask for help than in the online forums where the lovelorn go for romantic counsel?
Read the full article here.