Go Fish

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I didn’t get the postdoc I really wanted at a hospital and now I’m scrambling for other opportunities in the area. I really don’t want to relocate but I’m worried about not finding something to complete my supervised hours to sit for the licensing exam. I’ve reached out to all the hospitals in the area but it seems that most positions are already filled and at this point I’m not sure what else to do.

-Fishingforabreak

Dear Fishingforabreak,

I’m sorry to hear about your recent disappointment. In my experience as a trainee, I took a number of positions that I wasn’t ‘psyched’ about, but they all offered something that helped me get to eventually find a satisfying job. You never know what you might learn in a particular setting, and many opportunities you don’t expect can prove useful in the end. That said, it sounds like prioritizing will be important to guide your next step. If finding a postdoc to complete your hours is number one, I’d encourage you to caste a wide net: look into applying to community health centers or other places where you can get varied experience with a similar population. Research opportunities close to your area code, if not directly in your desired location. What is the distance you’re willing to commute? Are there places that offer a part-time postdoc where you can also do something else on the side? Are you interesting in research? Teaching? Administrative work?

Another way would be to contact your program’s alumni network, look into group practice opportunities, visit your state psychological association’s website or even post on social media (yes, seriously). Put it out there! Even if someone can’t help you directly they may hear of a position that interests you, or at least satisfies your main priorities. I realize that it would be ideal to have a position that would transition directly into what you’d like to do, but I’ve found after getting licensed that training is continuous, and although this feels the final step, there are opportunities after a postdoc to tailor your career path. If you’re tied to a location or specific kind of site, that’s fine, but know that it might take longer to find what you want. The competition for training opportunities is fierce and led me to many opportunities I didn’t expect, but if you are clear on what is most important, practiced in communicating this both in written word and in person, and utilize various resources to cast a wide net, I’m sure you’ll catch something. Things can happen in unexpected ways, and sometimes a position become available last minute so know that whatever the process entails,

You. Are. Enough.

Signed,

The Inadequate Graduate

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