Navigating career transitions during the pandemic

By Morgan Preziosi

I was very fortunate in that I transitioned from an academic postdoc to an industry scientist right before the pandemic hit the US. In fact, I had one week of normalcy at my new job before my city was shut down. Luckily, R&D is considered “essential” in my city, so I was able to continue working on a modified basis. While I am eternally grateful for my luck, timing, and privilege, it goes without saying that for the foreseeable future, STEM PhDs undergoing job transitions will have unforeseen difficulties. In fact, just trying to resume benchwork after shutdown is anxiety-provoking, and researchers are concerned for their careers. This recent blog post highlights the struggles postdocs are currently going through. While the solidarity is comforting, the article suggests trainees may want to reconsider careers, even if temporarily. For those on the job market, there may be more opportunities in industry, (particularly in startups, solely based on my own experiences), than academic positions, so postdocs and other academicians may begin looking for exit strategies, as discussed here. The bottom line is: these are unprecedented times, and we don’t know how the STEM job market will fare, so we need to be resilient and flexible.

Do you have any advice to share with those looking for jobs during this time? Or have other interests to contribute to this blog? If so, contact Morgan at