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Hi, I hope below can be categorized under career questions.

Based on your experiences what are the major issues/concerns and differences of professor sponsored postdoc positions (compared to department sponsored ones) ?

Sometime ago, I read an article which was noting that the probability of finding a TT job is highly correlated with the perceived ranking of the university where postdoc is done. (I think it was an AMS article but I can't find it now).

Assuming productivity of a TT job candidate is constant, what do you think about the importance of the ranking of the candidates current (postdoc) university ?

For mathematics postdoc positions, what is the main difference between the named postdoc positions and regular ones ? (such as XYZ V.A.P. or just a VAP)

Thanks in advance.

Edit: TT=Tenure Track, VAP=Visiting Assistant Professor

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closed as off topic by Felipe Voloch, Alexandre Eremenko, Misha, Carlo Beenakker, Alain Valette Jan 15 '13 at 18:00

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Better suited for, I think. Moreover, I do not know what a TT job is, neither what named postdoc positions are and what XYZ V.A.P or VAP could mean. – Dirk Jan 15 '13 at 7:17
No one cares about the specific job title of a postdoc, though the named ones often have more money or less teaching. It's true that postdocs at fancier places get more interviews, but it's hard to control for the fact that people who get those postdocs are much stronger than those who go to weaker places (the quality of postdocs drops very fast as you go down the rankings, just like the quality of grad students). However, if it makes you feel better I don't know anyone who did good work at a reasonable rate and didn't get a commensurate job (excepting certain jerks who no one would hire). – Julia Jan 15 '13 at 7:37
@Julia: Could you tell us what kind of jerky actions a postdoc (and young faculties until they get tenure) can commit to deserve your expression "certain jerks"? I am asking this question because postdocs have little or no power in academia so they cannot do anything bad even if they are really evil. – Vahid Shirbisheh Jan 15 '13 at 11:11
@Vahid: Doing a terrible job with one's teaching (e.g., never preparing for class, mumbling into the blackboard and ignoring any advice on how to improve, setting impossibly hard exams, dismissing student questions as "stupid", etc.) is an example of jerky behavior. Or behaving in a very arrogant way when interacting with colleagues & students. Surely you have met people in "real life" whom you think are jerks. It is not true that one needs "power" to do something "bad" or deserve the label "jerk" (which isn't to say that people with tenure cannot be jerks too, of course). – user29720 Jan 15 '13 at 14:53
@kreck: I think being a bad teacher is just being a bad teacher and an inappropriate behavior is just a bad behavior. I call someone jerk (in an office or institute) if he (or she) abuses his power or his position to suppress others, in other words a bully. Honestly, yes I have seen a few of such people among postdocs as well as senior faculties and all of them somehow got the job. Unfortunately the current system is unable to address issues. My point is such vague accusations can open the door for prejudices and discrimination in academia. So we must be a little more careful. – Vahid Shirbisheh Jan 15 '13 at 18:30

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