After two years of unsuccessful applications and one year of waiting in between my interview and starting my postdoctoral position I finally landed in the USA with hopes to build my expertise in the ever-growing field of deep learning. Hailing from a molecular modelling background with no to little hands-on experience in machine learning I didn’t imagine what it would take to learn the new discipline.
It’s been three months since I started my position and it feels like that I am working on my PhD all over again. Similar levels of challenges, anxieties and hopes that this new skill will bring better career opportunities in the future. When I look around to my friends who are in their well-settled jobs for almost a decade, I feel unsatisfied and unsecured and feel like even after acquiring the highest academic degree possible, I am not sure if I can get a stable career in the future. The only consolation I have that travelling to the UK, Europe for my PhD and now in the USA I have lived a life that many of my friends with stable jobs can’t.
It’s not easy to start working on something that is largely unrelated to your previous work or established expertise. Just a few months ago I was an expert in the research I was doing and now I am an untrained sailor in uncharted waters. I always wanted to work on programming intensive projects and improve my math and statistics, now that I have a chance to do it, it feels strange. Maybe till now I have programmed for fun, without any consequences, but now it’s different. Now I am expected to be correct and professional.
In between all this chaos and confusion, I am glad that I have a supportive family and labmates that are always willing to help. I am glad that I have a job and a learning opportunity in the most demanding areas of the current age. And I am sure that I will gather enough courage to pass through these feelings of uncertainty and insecurity and reach to the island where I can anchor my life.