My life has changed as a postdoc. Not incredibly, but subtly. In little surreptitious ways that I don't notice when they crop up, but do notice upon reflection.
I was really worried that when I started my postdoc, I wouldn't be able to be on the accelerated track because of my relative dearth of knowledge on the subject at hand. There are two major detection mechanisms in the world of biosensing: optical and electrochemical (or electrical, though I'm a bit rue to put it under electrochemical). Graduate work was optical; postdoctoral work is electrochemical. I planned it that way because of the broadening effect I hoped it would have. I knew it would be delving into something different, but I had a sneaking suspicion that in the back of my mind, it would be ok, because I had the knowledge base regarding biosensing and biodetection.... I just had to learn a few different techniques.
So far, that's been what it's been, and there's been more. I've found myself taking on a subtle leadership role, which is surprising since I've only been here for 3 months. I advise the younger students when the PI is not around. I correct techniques that have gotten lost over the years and with the turnover of new students. Right now, I am heading up putting together a budget for a major grant for which we are applying. I would have never dreamed I would do those sorts of things in graduate school, but I am loving the freedom and autonomy. And to top everything off, of course I have my own labwork to do, but learning what I am about our system is playing second fiddle to what I am learning behind the scenes, though it is still incredibly interesting, and I am devoting a lot of time to it.
Honestly, it's like I'm being groomed to become a tenure-track (TT) professor. The grant process is teaching me that, ok, it's hard. There is no doubt it's hard. But it's not impossible. I always thought it was like pulling teeth, and perhaps it is.... but perhaps also, the teeth aren't as firmly rooted as I had imagined. Advising the younger students has also been a real joy. They are so interdisciplinary, so smart in such different ways. I love contributing to both their education and the lab's as a whole. My ideas aren't just wanted, they're needed. I think I finally am starting to understand what my Ph.D. advisor wanted me to see for so long: that she truly loves what she does.
In short, I'm glad I came here, and I love my job, and if you were worried about me going to a different country, don't. Things are ok here.