The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life
In 2003, at a party, I met this very cool guy. He was on the job market for faculty positions and had just gotten an offer from MIT Sloan. I was on the job market too, and so we instantly hit it off. I had recently completed my PhD in computer science from MIT; it had already felt so hard, just proving myself as worthy enough. I also had a 4 year old kid and a little toddler. I really wondered how I’d emotionally survive tenure-track, assuming anyone would even offer me the job. So I asked him. How did he feel about doing the whole tenure track thing? Having to prove oneself again after the whole PhD experience? The answer changed my life, and gave me a life long friend.
He looked at my quizzically, and said “Tenure-track? what’s that? Hey, I’m signing up for a 7-year postdoc to hang out with some of the smartest, coolest folks on the planet! Its going to be a blast. And which other company gives you 7 year job security? This is the awesomest job ever!”
In 2004 when I came to Harvard as a junior faculty, I wrote it on my desk.
I type it in every day. For all seven+ years I have been at Harvard. No joke.
Read the full essay by Radikha Nagpaul, including seven things she did during her first seven years at Harvard (“Or, how I loved being a tenure-track faculty member, by deliberately trying not to be one”) at Scientific American.