I hope you all enjoyed your soup! I know I did. There will be more Ph.Dishes (with pictures!) very soon--I've got to get in all my wintry meals before it's too warm for things like slow-cooked short ribs with cheesy grits!
For now, though, let's get back to some career issues, and by "issues" I mean "journal issues." Glamour journals, to be specific--Science, Nature, Cell, etc. You know! They're kind of a big deal. Having a Glamour Mag publication on your CV is often considered to be an indication of extreme hotness; your work is cutting edge, important, and interesting to pretty much everybody (HA)! For a young investigator, it may play an important part in whether potential employers want to interview you, or in whether your Pathway to Independence grant gets funded (or, in my case, even scored).
Biochem Belle has an open thread going right now that asks whether it's better, in general, to have one S/N/C paper or a couple of solid PNASes or JBCs. Her commenters so far seem to be leaning toward the latter option, including one who's been reviewing many job applications. If this is actually reflective of the attitudes of the science community as a whole, then I'd be very happy, because as Zen points out, some of us might never have a Glamour Mag paper.
Does this mean that I'm not doing hot science that's relevant and important to the world? Of course not. Are all my publications in Neuroreport? Not a one. I'm just a little...niche-y, that's all. I'm totally happy with my niche, and having projects that aren't part of my lab's primary grants has afforded me a level of independence that other trainees don't necessarily have. The downside, though, is that I may have missed out on being on a higher-profile paper or two. And until recently, I was comfortable with the trade-off.
Look, I know you won't believe me when I say this, but I never cared all that much about having a Glamour Mag paper. As long as I've had the means to ask the questions I wanted to ask and got the work into solidly respected journals, I've been happy. I've been asked to speak at conferences, won "Best Poster" and travel awards, got Ye Olde NRSA...the cap's got some feathers, you understand?
But to continue the metaphor, my cap is missing that big shiny jewel (or really rare and exquisite feather) that is or isn't a must, depending on who you ask. So I'm asking you: in the current job market, is it even worth sending in applications without a Glamour pub? And if it's unlikely that S/N/C will be publishing a Dr Becca first author any time soon, what's a niche-y gal to do?