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Seeking Advice RE: Trying to Coordinate Residency with Partner's Postdoc

hlr

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Jul 25, 2017
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Hi all,

TL;DR looking on advice on how to end up in same place as my partner when we will be starting our residency and postdoc at the same time

I am a rising MS2 and my partner is in the third year of his PhD in a biology field. My partner is planning to finish his PhD sometime in my MS4 year (and has been reassured by members of his committee that he is on track to do so) and begin a postdoc at the same time that I begin residency. Obviously I will not know where I am heading for residency until March and getting a postdoc that is relevant to his research interests is more nuanced than just getting a job wherever I end up, but we don't have the benefit of there being a couples match the way there would be if we were both starting residency. We are trying to plan ahead for how we might swing this so that we can end up in relatively the same place -- we're both willing to commute an hour and since we're looking to stay in the Northeast, there are many cities that would allow us to live in the middle of the two and commute. I know that I can always just apply to and rank programs in cities with labs that my partner has an interest in and have him keep in touch then hope that they end up having a spot and funding available, but does anyone have any better advice on how to approach this strategically?
 

raiderette

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I think the big talk you need to have is about who gets priority. You have a lot less control where you match. To me, that would put you as the priority right now. Your fiance has options after the PhD that go beyond the postdoc. There is private sector work, for instance. I believe cultivating interest in desired places, being upfront about possibilities, and networking are the best things. My spouse will have to move with me and he has been working on this for a few months. He is not a PhD, but in law enforcement, but he understands his dreams take a backseat while I do residency.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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Agree with above, unless he lands some kind of lucrative industry job you will most likely be primary bread winner thus your job takes priority. Also a lot of this depends on what you’re interested in. If you are doing something like IM or FP and have no fellowship aspirations you can pretty much go anywhere.
 
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iHawk_MD

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I will likely be in a similar situation as you a few years down the road. Does his current program have good funding? What are the chances he could continue his research until you know where you will be and then start his search? I know my SO has some 6th and 7th years in her lab who have finished the majority of their research, but are waiting around an extra 6 months or so before moving on to a postdoc for various reasons (generally a pregnancy or other family matter). At the same time, you could prioritize cities that have reputable universities in his field (which, for biology, is really any big city). That way, you will likely match somewhere that he can end up as well. Obviously this changes if he doesn't get picked up by any postdoc program in that city, but I think this is the best way since he has a little more flexibility on when he "graduates" than you do, which unfortunately means he gets to pick second.

IMO, one of you commuting to philly and the other to NY, or some variant of that, is gonna be rough. I would consider getting two separate apartments for times when one of you knows you will need to be working early or late or even just to socialize with people in your respective programs more easily. My SO and I currently commute to cities that are right across a bridge from one another, and there was times I considered getting another apartment just out of commute frustration (obviously Covid has changed that drastically for the moment).
 

hlr

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Jul 25, 2017
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I think the big talk you need to have is about who gets priority. You have a lot less control where you match. To me, that would put you as the priority right now. Your fiance has options after the PhD that go beyond the postdoc. There is private sector work, for instance. I believe cultivating interest in desired places, being upfront about possibilities, and networking are the best things. My spouse will have to move with me and he has been working on this for a few months. He is not a PhD, but in law enforcement, but he understands his dreams take a backseat while I do residency.
Agree with above, unless he lands some kind of lucrative industry job you will most likely be primary bread winner thus your job takes priority. Also a lot of this depends on what you’re interested in. If you are doing something like IM or FP and have no fellowship aspirations you can pretty much go anywhere.

Thank you both for your input, I appreciate getting some different perspectives!

I will likely be in a similar situation as you a few years down the road. Does his current program have good funding? What are the chances he could continue his research until you know where you will be and then start his search? I know my SO has some 6th and 7th years in her lab who have finished the majority of their research, but are waiting around an extra 6 months or so before moving on to a postdoc for various reasons (generally a pregnancy or other family matter). At the same time, you could prioritize cities that have reputable universities in his field (which, for biology, is really any big city). That way, you will likely match somewhere that he can end up as well. Obviously this changes if he doesn't get picked up by any postdoc program in that city, but I think this is the best way since he has a little more flexibility on when he "graduates" than you do, which unfortunately means he gets to pick second.

IMO, one of you commuting to philly and the other to NY, or some variant of that, is gonna be rough. I would consider getting two separate apartments for times when one of you knows you will need to be working early or late or even just to socialize with people in your respective programs more easily. My SO and I currently commute to cities that are right across a bridge from one another, and there was times I considered getting another apartment just out of commute frustration (obviously Covid has changed that drastically for the moment).

Yes, he could likely stay put with funding until we find out where I'm going and that's probably a good option until he has a chance to figure something out. Thanks!
 
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