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It's not just greed--there simply aren't that many other options.

Many fields now have postdocs but that's another 3-5 years, during which you'll make $50k/year, have limited job security, and may need to move. If your research works out well (good results, hot field, right connections with other researchers), you can join the fray that is the academic job market, and scrap for grants to hang onto the job. If it doesn't, it becomes harder and harder to stay a postdoc: fellowships are mostly limited to new PhDs, grants don't have enough room for non-student salaries, and institutional policies force you out.

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