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benefits and privileges for postdocs - (Mar/04/2013 )

I am not happy at my university at all. The job in here has no benefit or privilege, specially if you are a foreigner. There is no medical insurance for my wife, or any dependent. Other universities, specially private ones, pay much more, but my boss is the deputy secretary general of the ministry of science and I'm scared of leaving this job for another. If I leave now she can literally hunt me down :D. Besides, I need her recommendation letter for my next job.

Last year before my contract extension I applied for other jobs, even for my former university in UK, but they all turned me down. Our work is stuck at this moment and we are asking a German company to synthesize the genome for us. The job is not really productive. I am a second year postdoc with 7-8 papers only. This year they didn't raise my salary because I didn't reach 10 papers milestone. The salary is also not much, and wife is always angry why I can't earn more :). The finance department also forgot to pay me 2 times for one month, and they didn't even apologize.

Last year when I came here they told me once a year I can go back home and claim the plane ticket. But now they say I can claim only one plane ticket at the end of my contract,... wife or children not included. I keep asking myself what I am doing here. This is really slavery. Next week I am going back to my home country to search for jobs (I might not have access to the internet to moderate the forum).

Can you please share your experiences with me? I want to know the benefits that you as a postdoc get in your countries.


My benefits are cash and the right to do whatever I want all day. It's not a job, it's a training program.


Maybe life is much easier in France so you don't have to see it this way. You're lucky.


You have a good point....I'm currently in a country with socialized healthcare etc. Here, like everywhere else, the post-doc is a temporary situation. Like any "job", if you don't like it then you should find something better. The best strategy is to spend a significant portion of your time lining up a real career. If making your current boss happy is going to further the career you want to pursue, then keep doing it. If at the end of your time there, nobody is even going to ask to see a recommendation letter, then just do whatever you need to do to make yourself marketable.


I recently enquire the postdoc position, unfortunately, always have received rejection letter. From your case, it seems, a good boss (including the character and scientific research) decides the fate of your future.


I've a project position limited to three years....benefits and disadvantages even out, more money and better standing, but more duties, more work, more admin work,...well perhaps it's not even out....wink.png


I finished PhD last month (about time..). Originally my boss got this idea that I'm not exactly what he expects from a postdoc, as he said "of course not because of scientific competence" but kind of.. the other things, doing many different stuff at the same time, teaching, research, leading students. That I was allegedly too much fixed on details and I'm sort of handicaped in this way and this rubbish. He wanted to keep me there though, but not on that (relatively) stable postdoc position but in the limbo between several short grant contracts glued up together, never knowing when there will be a shortage in one of those and I end only with 80% part-time or so. (still, luckily as a native born citizen, no problems with health insurance or other things would be a result of that, and probably even if I wasn't)

That naturaly meant that in that case there is no future for me here, because when someone tells me what I can or can't do without trying me, that's not what I expect to get.


He changed mind later, that he will try it, but as he's not sure, he will take few months to evaluate it definitelly. Fine by me. I just wanted to get a chance to disprove him about that.

But as he keeps "motivating" me in a way he probably thing is motivating (which is actually just letting a person so down, he just wants to quit this minute, and that is not only my observation or anything one-time, he does this all the time.. of course with the best intentions from what he thinks), he's making my life a hell.


I knew it would be difficult, that I would have more responsibilities, more things to do at once. I really do have difficulties with executive functions, but well, that is my problem to solve out. I can manage it somehow, in a way suitable for me to generate him the results he wants to. That I expected, prepared for, though it would not have been easy. But who cares about that. I can do just as well as anybody, but I need to do it my way.

But sometimes I feel I just don't have enough energy and everything to manage him and his "motivational" rubbish, and his "feelings" how my work should or shouldn't look like, that just leaves me stressed like hell. I almost decided I will decline the position,repeatedly now, because I asked myself if I really need to do this. I definitelly don't need to breakdown.


But I guess, first I don't really like to just yield from something. And second, as for now, I myself am still not sure about what I can or cannot do/manage. I didn't try it yet long enough. I may take the future months as a chance to realize where do I stand on this. And then I can no further care about other's impressions (even more when those impressions are clearly flawed as now are) and can decide for myself.