Short musing today on the decision all doctoral candidates have to make at some point.
How many more years can you stand to be someone else's b#$%^ for very little money.
There are three options for any graduating doctoral student in the sciences
1) quit academia for the lush life of cube sitting at an NGO/gov office/corporation and using that statistics course you had to take first year
2) quit research and go for a lectureship or company-based R&D
3) go into research as a post-doc in someone else's lab.
Number 3 can further be broken down into
i) interview for positions where you will be paid ~37K annually out of someone else's grant or start up funds and spend the next 2-3 years completing that research relatively hassle-free (extremely rare).
ii) interview for positions where you will be paid ~37K annually out of someone else's grant or start up funds and spend the next 3-10 years desperately trying to meet the requirements of someone else's research program......someone getting paid much more than you, to go home at night, see their spouse and read to their children while you, underling-being-paid-annually-approximately-$3000-for-every-year-of-your-post-secondary-education, sleep with your head on a bench and are subjected to lectures about how only very special scientists can manage a career and a life/kids and that you are clearly not one of those scientists (very, very common).
iii) interview with P.I.s with explicit interest of bringing your own research money to their lab, thus granting yourself some research autonomy by at least providing for your own wage slightly above 37K (rare).
Option 3-iii is the ideal. If I'm going to spend another 2-4 years in graduate-style poverty, I might as well being doing research that I want to do.
First, I must find the grants.