Last week I posted a poll in an attempt to get a feel for whether or not postdocs were more likely to be disgruntled in the biomed world than in other sciences and I was a little surprised by the response. Based on the general volume of the disgruntlesphere I would have predicted that the number of dissatisfied postdocs was relatively high, but the poll suggests that may not be true. After 165 votes, 80% responded that they are enjoying/did enjoy their postdoc experience and those numbers were pretty consistent across all disciplines.
Given the variability in postdoc mentors, the current funding climate and job market, 20% of people being dissatisfied by their postdoc experience is probably lower than the percentage of people generally dissatisfied by their job. Of course, the poll was open to anyone who has been a postdoc and one could argue that the majority of current faculty respondents likely had good postdoc experiences, which then landed them a job. Therefore, the results could be skewed in the positive direction based on the audience and those polled.
Nevertheless, I'm glad that an enjoyable postdoc position is not an outlier because I truly view that time as a valuable experience. I know that I wouldn't have been nearly as effective as a scientist, teacher or manager if I had started a TT position right out of grad school. I gained an incredible amount of perspective as a postdoc, without which I don't think I would have been very successful.
So for today, I would be interested in what others are gaining or have gained out of their postdoc experience and whether you think the time has been a positive or negative career influence.