Congratulations on getting a position at McGill!
A postdoc position is an exciting, interesting, and sometimes challenging time. You are still training in your chosen field, and so at McGill we are classified as “stagiaires” (trainees). This works in our favour in Quebec, as it conveys provincial tax-free status on us (NB. You are still obliged to pay Federal taxes). In addition, we fall under the umbrella of the PGSS, giving us access to healthcare insurance and some Graduate student benefits i.e. Skillsetsand the Career Planning Service. One of the major benefits of being a “trainee” is the ability to concentrate on our research without the teaching and administrative load that comes with being a Principle Investigator (PI).
However, a postdoc is also a time to think about the future. If you plan to stay in academia, how will you go about your job search for a PI job? Do you want to remain in Canada, or go abroad/home? If you want to leave academic research, how will you gather the necessary soft skills that will make you employable outside of the laboratory? This information is available, if you know where to look and who to ask. The APF aims to be one place where you can start to find this information.
In general, one of the most valuable pieces of advice we can offer is to start to treat yourself as a small business – YOU are in charge of your future, not your PI, nor McGill. They will (or should) help if they can, but a postdoc must be proactive in researching their own options, whether it be planning experiments or finding out how to write a CV for non-academic positions.
It’s also important to appreciate the value of networking, which could not only get you your next job, but also help you meet new friends. So with this in mind, we hope to see you soon at an APF-organised event!
The APF Executive.