Suzanne P. on April 29, 2016
I have a Ph.D. in a competitive science field. I was training to be a faculty at a big university where both research and teaching are required. I had a first occurrence of cancer while a grad student. I was a single parent and having to take extra time meant that I had to take out student loans. I then had a recurrence as a postdoc. As a single mom, my postdoc pay was already inadequate pay and postdocs don't have any long term disability or stability. After the term of your grant is over, you are out of a job. My second cancer meant that I was unemployed and on food stamps. I eventually got on disability.
I am trying to get back in to being on the science fast track but without a job, I can't get grants, without grants, I can't do my work, without producing work I can't get a faculty position. I spend 100s of hours on faculty job applications, I have been flown to interviews all over the country and out of the country but nothing has landed. I am feeling very hemmed in my having student loan debt, and the other options (more postdoc, lecturing, lower tier college) are both low pay and require me to move while my kids are in schools they like. I would move for a good faculty job but not to make $40K.