Research and Resouces
Recently the research of several young professors that I considered postdocing with has been highlighted in trade journals. This has really spawned a lot of thought on my part. I want my research to be featured in trade journals too. Of course these faculty all have several years up on me (about 5) and are at very prestigious universities. And I have to ask my self if it is likely that I could achieve a similar goal in the same time frame.
Based on the feedback that I received in the last year, I would have to say that signs are good, but there are several differences between myself and them. The most obvious is that my university, while an R1U, is not as prestigious as theirs. This means that I don't have access to the resources that they have, particularly students. Even if I am technically and intellectually as skilled as these individuals, will I have the people and tools necessary to achieve that kind of success? This is a more difficult question that can't really be answered yet.
On the other hand, if I tried to do well so that I could move to a very prestigious university, I don't think that I would be happy. I finally pinned down a couple people on expectations for me at full throttle. The basic plan at R1U (for research anyway) is a couple of papers a year, support two grad students, and generate a couple months of release time (bringing in summer support for 3 months + 2 more months of salary). These are pretty achievable goals that I can accomplish without driving myself crazy.
Now if I were at very prestigious university, I believe that this would be much less likely. There I would be expected to support a much larger group meaning I would need to bring in substantially more money. More publications would be expected from me and just more in general. So while I would have increased resources, they come at a substantial cost, especially in terms of my work like balance (and sanity).
So I have to ask myself is it possible to have research success on limited resources without driving yourself crazy? And the answer is I don't know, but I'll tell you in a few years.