Since I haven’t updated this blog in a while, I’ll start by saying that even with a K99, a good number of publications, and a pretty famous postdoctoral co-mentor, I only got two interviews from the roughly 100 applications I sent out.
I wrote about my first interview in my last post, and even though I did like the school and the people there, it was in a city that is economically depressed and far away from family, and overall made me feel anxiety about potentially having to move there. What was even worse is that I didn’t hear anything about their hiring process for months.
I felt defeated and scared to death the day that I had to email the NIH and ask for an extension on my K99 because I hadn’t secured a faculty position. Luckily, the people at the NIH were totally responsive and reasonable and gave me up to a year extension for the due date of submitting my R00 application. However, this did not come with any more money. So my mentor had to start paying my salary again, which meant a major pay cut and a major blow to my self-esteem.
I was still clinging to the notion that the perfect job in my dream east coast city was going to appear even though I knew the hiring season was basically over. I was checking job postings multiple times per day and a very late job posting did appear at a major university in a Midwestern city that I had travelled to many times during my childhood. Leaving the east coast was something I was desperately trying to avoid, but I felt like I at least had to apply since it was a really great school. I sent out this one last application, six letters of recommendation (because they said “at least three”), and mentioned in my cover letter that I had visited many times and had family in the area.