A brief summary of all the post-doc emails I get at my job with unspoken subtext spelled out...
There is little money out in world for non-clinical personnel in drug abuse research. How about a post-doc studying addiction and drug abuse? You will feel terrible for all the people you work with and read about, your research won’t result in any major breakthroughs, and you will have almost no job prospects waiting for you at the end!
There is little money out in world for characterizing numerous species that will go extinct because humanity won’t take care of the environment.How about a post-doc studying reproductive behavior in endangered species? You will feel terrible knowing nothing you do will ever make a difference, and you will have almost no job prospects waiting for you at the end!
There is little money out in world for studying mental health issues of people growing up or living in poverty dealing with domestic violence. How about a post-doc studying impoverished victims of domestic violence? You will be intrusive, not able to give any meaningful help and feel terrible for the people you work with a read about, and you will have almost no job prospects waiting for you at the end!
How about a post-doc in clinical drug development? There is lots of money and lots of jobs. We are only taking candidates who already know how to do this because they were lucky enough to stumble into clinical drug development in their careers but cannot get any more promotions because you don’t have a piece of paper from a prestigious academic institution. You will be doing your professional job for several years for lower pay! You will have job prospects at the end, but they won’t pay what they told you they would if you only had a post-doc under your belt.
People kept saying “get a post-doc.” The time for me to get one is running out and I suspect I will never regret not getting one.