In life science n00b postdocs expect to train for faculty status. You have your freshly printed PhD in hand and everyone (except the postdocs) at your graduate lab has been telling you that if you apply yourself as a turbo-gunner real life growed up scientist you'll be a Principal Investigator one day. This is a simple fucking fact - no one tells graduate students that they're embarking on career path with a ~20% chance of success*. And at postdoc level we add to this is fallacy, because not only does gaining more/perfecting bench skills prepare you for nothing more than a technical post, the simple math of the job market should tell you that you have at best a 1 in 10 chance of securing a good research-based PI position. But then again, who looks at the stats?
Your postdoc should prepare you for PI status by simply exposing you to the daily reality of running a lab. If you have the druthers and wherewithal to cotton to this you'll really be OK. Alas, that is rare and increasingly so because postdocs are, today, ten-a-penny and ultra low overheads make them a cost effective labor option** No one is teaching you, because after all you're a postdoc and should be self-sufficient, personnel or budget management or how to write a grant or how to appeal to an editor when the curse'd third reviewer chimes in with impossible demands. No one explains how to negotiate a start-up, or balance the three/four tiers of the tenure track. They don't demonstrate how to say no to increasing committee obligations despite a pressing need for 'time' to write grants.
You learn nothing as a postdoc, except how to be a good technician. To save your PI time and nervous energy by generating data as quickly and efficiently as possible.
So, bearing in mind these happy truths, what the fuck are you doing as a postdoc? Training to be a tech*** or taking the bull by the horns and driving...DRIVING...your career in the direction it needs to be?
*In my career to date, in academic life science, I have met only a small percentage of graduate students (10% maybe) who were pursuing their degree with the deliberate and explicit intention of pursuing a non PI career track.
**a postdoc earns ~$40k/yr + ~10% indirects = $44k. A tech earns $50k/yr + 40% indirects = $70k/yr. Now think about your NIH modular budget and add inflation over time.
***This is an excellent and under-rated career option - technician or research associate/RA prof is an excellent and under rated career move for technically excellent PhDs who love the bench and hate the 'drama' of running a lab