The Good Postdoc Fairy tale

Day 18 in our #ChristmasCalendar2019 = Fairy tale time!

Christmas is a time of magic, fairy tales, and miracles. So let me tell you a fairy tale about a girl named Nika, who ventured on an epic quest in search of a Good Postdoc. What is that you wonder? A delicious treat, a magical sword? Just read on and you shall learn.

Once upon a time, Nika lived in a cold dark country, near a castle with slanted glass walls called the Karolinska Institute. She worked for the royal family, but her future was bleak because she could not leave her indentured servitude services without a magical artifact – an artiCLE! Every day she trudged through deep snow drifts to the castle and worked from sunrise to sunset training the monster named Data. Data was a true beast with a wild heart, sharp teeth, and breath of fire that could destroy anyone’s hopes. But he also had magical powers that the royal family wanted to harness. Despite Nika’s hard work, Data never wanted to use his magical powers to produce the magical artiCLE.


But Nika was a dreamer. So one day she packed her rucksack and set on a quest to learn more about the beast. Nika travelled across a red bridge suspended in mid-air, until she came to the far away city of San Francisco. In the city lived a renowned magician, Maria, who wanted to learn about the beast. Maria was fascinated by Nika’s stories about the beast and that is why shgood_postdoc_prophecye told her about a magical sword called Good Postdoc. “It is rare,” she said, “but with a true heart, hard work, and luck, you might find one, and if you wield it right, your future shall be brighter.” And she even offered Nika advice, in the form of a riddle, of course: “Meet us in July, in a city with a latticed, wrought-iron tower. There you will meet those who can guide you.”

Nika returned to the royal castle and continued training the beast, but the words of the magician kept ringing in her head. Despite her doubtful heart, come July, Nika set upon another quest and upon discovering the city with the latticed, wrought-iron tower (Paris!), she did find her mentor; a mentor who is currently teaching her to wield the Good Postdoc sword. One day, when she has finished mastering its powers, she will live happily ever after.

To those who do not believe in fairy tales, I attach excerpts from the Good Postdoc training manual. And let me assure you – they do reflect the reality!


Some serious tips, and advice for those looking for their own Good Postdoc:

  • Be honest with yourself about what you want. My list was:
    • no compromises on topic
    • mentor I know/have met with a good reputation
    • group/collaborative setting because I work quite alone before, supportive environment
  • You have heard this before but – network = talk to people. Only that way you can find out if the position has the potential to be a good fit. I remotely video chatted with 10 people from my current workplace.
  • Believe – in yourself and that a place/position that is right for you exists.


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