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Human Resources Division

Getting started at Argonne

Preparing for your Argonne postdoctoral experience

Argonne has a robust postdoctoral community with over 200 postdocs from all over the world.

Argonne prides itself on recruiting diverse, skilled and talented researchers in order to support and further their careers in addition to their contributions in continuing the scientific and technological success of the Laboratory. It is our intention that your tenure at Argonne be as productive and rewarding as possible. Whether you need assistance with acclimating to the Chicago area or assistance with career development, we are here to help!

The First Day

When you report for your first day of employment, you will take part in the New Employee Orientation. This will consist of two morning sessions to cover your benefits, training expectations, safety, and general orientation to the lab. You will receive specific directions on your first day, but in general, you should expect:

  • Morning orientation session covering benefits.
  • Current Postdocs will meet you for lunch on your first day. You will be provided a welcome kit from the Postdoctoral Program Office. The kit will have important information to help you get started with your appointment.
  • Stop at the Visitor’s Center after lunch to initiate the badging process.
  • Visit the Health and Employee Wellness center at your scheduled appointment time for your drug/alcohol and physical tests.
  • It is recommended that you stop by your division’s office to meet the front office staff and obtain any division-specific new employee information.
  • Let your supervisor know you are here!

First Few weeks

Doing top notch research is your number one priority during your appointment. There are a few considerations as you get started. You should know where to go for what and who can help answer your questions. You should also learn how to find information on the Employee Intranet.

In the first few weeks at Argonne, you should expect:

  • Building orientation that informs you of safety and emergency procedures specific to your building and/or division
  • High quality research is research done safely. Safety training that is based on the type of research you will be conducting. You will hear the terms Work Planning and Control and Integrated Safety Management, which are guiding principles for planning and executing work. You will complete a Job Hazard Questionnaire or JHQ, which is a tool used to identify the risks and hazards associated with your work. This will help guide your training plan.
  • Your division may have a new employment checklist that helps you acclimate to the division
  • People you should meet include:
    • HR Benefits contact
    • Divisional administrative staff
    • Divisional Environmental Safety and Health (ESH) Coordinator
    • Postdoctoral Program Lead
    • Divisional Mentoring Program Coordinator
    • If needed, the HR Immigration and Visa Specialist
  • Complete the Initial Development Discussion Form with your Supervisor. This - tool, provided in your Welcome Kit, will help you think about your research and career goals and what opportunities you should seek while here to support your  professional development. You can also use this as a tool to guide your mentoring plan.

First Ninety Days

Within the first 90 days of employment, all postdocs and fellows should select a staff member in addition to their supervisor to serve as their mentor. Each division has an internal mentoring program coordinator to help you with this process.

  • About the Mentoring Program: Starting a new position at a new place can lead to a litany of questions. With Argonne’s mentor program, our postdocs are linked up with experienced scientists to help them prepare for future career success. Our mentors are here to provide perspective and feedback that will enable postdocs to maximize their research skills and productivity. The mentoring program guidelines are tailored to each division to ensure that both the postdocs’ and divisional goals are met. You should meet with your mentor at least quarterly.

Annual Renewal

  • Appointments at Argonne are renewed annually. At least two months before your anniversary date, you should start thinking about your accomplishments, research progress, and goals for the upcoming year. You will be asked to complete an Annual Development Discussion Form with your supervisor and mentor. Usually, the divisional office will contact you and your supervisor when it is time to take these steps.
  • Remember that part of your job is to find a job. Be thinking about networking and your long term goals early.