Hello all! I'm a graduate student theorist in an engineering/physical science discipline, and I'm graduating next summer-ish. I've been thinking of starting a blog for awhile, but today a bunch of events came together (I have something on my mind, my old blog--just updates to friends--is not working well, and I thought of a reasonable name) and I started this blog. Maybe I will do more intro later, but this post is about what I'm going to do with the next few years of my life. As I want to be a professor, and the departments I am thinking of would not likely hire me without some more experience, I recently started looking for postdocs.
On my mind today is whether I should apply to a postdoc in my hometown. I have been looking at top departments and top people in the field, and a few national lab positions. None of the very top (top 20, say) schools are in my hometown, but there is a government research lab which I just learned has postdocs in my field. I feel qualified for the position and I am sure I would learn a lot there. Moreover, it is the perfect location, and while I had resigned myself to living far away for several more years (or life), I have gotten myself really excited about the prospect of living at home again, if only for a year or two.
The problem is, it's probably not the ideal position for someone who's looking to be a professor. The person there who would be my adviser is not a professor and maybe not as well connected as some of the other advisers I'm considering. Also, based on my initial impressions, the research there isn't as fundamental as I would like it to be. (My future undergrads would probably appreciate someone who understood applications or "the real world" a bit, but I doubt this project is applied enough to make a difference on that front--after all, it is still theory/simulation.)
So, what to do? I am not prepared to significantly hurt my career for one year at "home", but really this would be, at worst, taking a small risk of slightly dinging my career path. In fact, maybe being happy at home will make me the ultimate researcher and I will get tons done and therefore help my career? The deadline is fast approaching!!! ahhhhh!!!