How to transition to a postdoc?


Transitioning to a postdoc involves several important steps and mindsets adjustments. Here are some insights from experts:

1. Focus on Research

emphasizes that postdocs should focus heavily on research. Unlike a PhD, a postdoc is more autonomous and primarily involves research activities. Building your day around research and using any extra time effectively is crucial. Newport suggests practicing research effectiveness by adding artificial constraints to increase productivity under limited time conditions 1.

2. Financial and Social Considerations

points out that a postdoc typically increases your income slightly, but this may be offset by higher living costs, especially in big cities. He also stresses the importance of social connections and choosing activities that align with your financial situation to manage stress better 2.

3. Evolving Research Skills

advises that transitioning through your academic career, especially into a postdoc, requires evolving your skills beyond those you developed as a graduate student. As a postdoc, you should start developing your independent research questions and projects. It’s also crucial to take initiative and focus on activities that will enhance your employability and success in potential future roles, such as a faculty position 3.

Transitioning to Postdoc

Cal Newport shares his suggestions for transitioning from a PhD program to a postdoc, emphasizing the importance of building research-focused habits and practicing effectiveness within limited time constraints. He also discusses his personal experience of adding artificial constraints to his schedule and the benefits it brought to his research productivity.

Deep Questions with Cal Newport

Ep. 177: Is Ambition Worth It?

These points highlight the importance of focusing on research, managing your financial and social life wisely, and continuously evolving your academic skills when transitioning to a postdoc.