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Make it Happen

At the US National Institutes of Health Office of Intramural Training and Education's Careers blog, career counselor Anne Kirchgessner says that she often hears from postdocs who say that their mentors have not properly helped them to prepare for their next steps. But, she says, "there are various reasons why a postdoc mentor doesn't just 'make the call' that links their trainee to a career position," not least of which is that he or she may not be fully aware of that trainee's professional interest. "If you want help from your PI, you must start conversations about where your career is going," Kirchgessner says.

Beyond that, academic PIs who have never worked beyond the ivory tower may not feel prepared to prep their trainees for careers outside of academia. For that, she says, postdocs ought to look for assistance elsewhere in their support networks. In the end, Kirchgessner says it is up to trainees to be their own advocates.

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