Monday’s Food for Thought: The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life

new food for thought

A reader of our blog, E, sent us this amazing article written by Prof. Radhika Nagpal, a junior faculty member at Harvard. I know that most of us aren’t academics, and the only reason we find ourselves connected to this world is due to the fact we’re supporting someone in it. I think the message Prof. Nagpal gives is universal, and a wonderful positive message that can be integrated into everyday life.

In her own words:

I’ve enjoyed my seven years as junior faculty tremendously, quietly playing the game the only way I knew how to. But recently I’ve seen several of my very talented friends become miserable in this job, and many more talented friends opt out. I feel that one of the culprits is our reluctance to openly acknowledge how we find balance. Or openly confront how we create a system that admires and rewards extreme imbalance. I’ve decided that I do not want to participate in encouraging such a world. In fact, I have to openly oppose it.

So with some humor to balance my fear, here’s goes my confession:

Seven things I did during my first seven years at Harvard. Or, how I loved being a tenure-track faculty member, by deliberately trying not to be one.

  • I decided that this is a 7-year postdoc.
  • I stopped taking advice.
  • I created a “feelgood” email folder.
  • I work fixed hours and in fixed amounts.
  • I try to be the best “whole” person I can.
  • I found real friends.
  • I have fun “now”.

I decided that this is a 7-year postdoc.

I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Monday,

~Mandy

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