Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Career options

You are given two choices:

1. A full time industry R&D position in a Fortune 100 firm which pays you very well (we are talking about being in a pay bracket at least at the 90th percentile of personal income in US), all the more so given today's tough deteriorating ecnomic conditions and in an area you are keen on plunging into or;

2. A postdoc in a well-respected lab whose PI was recently acknowledged by the US federal government for the scientific work coming out of there. The project(s) I am offered is challenging enough that will expand my scientific repertoire, and previous group members have had considerable success in finding excellent teaching positions (e.g. Imperial college, UIUC, UT-Austin to name a few).

Received a lot of conflicting opinions amongst my friends whom I consulted for their advice.


Geoffrey said...

"all the more so given today's tough deteriorating ecnomic conditions and in an area you are keen on plunging into or;"

This should not be relevant to YOUR decision making.

L'oiseau rebelle said...

I guess the relevant questions are:

1. Do you see yourself becoming your advisor in 10 years time?

2. What is the career path for the industry position (advancement, management vs. research, ownership possibilities, doing the same thing every day for the next 20 years...)

3. Likelihood of getting the necessary work visa.

"Deteriorating economic conditions" is the short term (well, hopefully, considering how things are going), plus, a publicly listed company answers to their shareholders/investors, many of who, as an S&P analyst was quoted in the NYT, make decisions with the mindset of a hyperactive first grader.

takchek said...

I think most Singaporeans do not really need to worry about the work visa thingy. We have a safety net in the form of the H1B1 if we are ever so unlucky not to be selected for the annual H-1B lottery. In the latter case, it is not even an issue at all since academic H-1Bs are not subjected to the annual cap.

For the industry position, it is actually a launchpad to something bigger as your career progresses. It won't hurt to have it on your resume. And most people treat it as such, going places after that and still being connected to the Corporation as alumni.

Twentyfour_sucks said...

Wouldn't the work environment (i.e. industry versus academic) be the key differentiating factor in your decision? The goals and drivers for the two environments can be quite different, you know.