I was tied to my electrophysiology rig for the past three days and completely missed the #postdocalypse hashtag on twitter. It started with Ethan Perlstein's post where he describes how even a "prestigeous independent postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton" did not guarantee him a TT position at a top institute. At almost the same time as I read about this on ProflikeSubstance's blog some people on twitter were talking about how the median age to first receive an R01 is 41. And I thought: sure all of this sucks, and we need to do whatever we can to try and change this; it would be great if there was more money for science, and a higher chance of getting a desired TT job. But at the same time, all this panic is not getting us anywhere.
Sometimes PIs lose funding, or decide to move to the other side of the US, or decide to fire a bunch of postdocs, and not too long ago one of those scenarios was a serious option in our lab. I thought for a while that I could lose my job, and I seriously thought about what I would do in that case. I could make myself useful in another lab, I could stay home with BlueEyes. I could become a yoga teacher or a babywearing instructor or both. I could write a book. All of a sudden the possibilities were endless, and I was almost sad that this scenario wasn't going to happen and I continue to be a scientist.
What I'm trying to say is that even though you've worked to become something ever since high school, and you will be extremely disappointed when you don't become what you want because of factors out of your control, that is not all there is. Seriously, it's not. And sometimes it is extremely liberating to realize that.
In case you worry what all this hippie talk is doing here: don't worry, next time I will write a disgruntled postdoc post again.