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Advice for Parting Postdocs

Biochembelle knows that choosing to leave a postdoc position early is "never an easy decision" to make. Whether "you made a decision about where to spend the next two to eight years of your life based on a few hours of interaction with a group of" potential labmates, didn't have the chance to "even spend a full 24 hours in the city you decided to call home," or find that the position is a fundamentally improper fit for you, the blogger says that "it's rarely a single thing that pushes someone to consider walking away and starting over again." Most careers-related dilemmas invoke a "right choice" and a "smart choice," Biochembelle says, adding that these options "aren't always one and the same." Though she notes that every postdoc's situation is different, for her, the decision was ultimately "between what seemed to be the smart choice — staying on — and the other choice — moving on. I chose the latter, because it was right for me."

According to Biochembelle, postdocs who choose to leave their posts early can become overwhelmed with self-doubt. It's best, she says, to avoid comparing yourself to "the 'golden child' … in every lab," but instead to "re-discover your confidence," by recording your achievements in grad school and beyond. "A look at the list of things I had mastered … made me realize how much I had going for me and helped focus my job search," she says. Now, Biochembelle says she's happier as a postdoc in a new lab. "Hopefully, you won’t ever need this advice," she says. "And if you do, just remember: you are not the first, and you won’t be the last, but find a way out, over, or through."

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