from phd comics:
its true that grad school is a sort of limbo, but there is a precise (and looming) finality to that reality... becoming a doctor! for a postdoc, there is no universal or definite goal, aside from the generic academic "publish or perish" mantra.
right now, i'm finalizing the details to have my dissertation work for publication in a peer-review journal, i'm acquainting myself with the research projects of the group i just joined and moving forward with research ideas that coincide with my new boss's existing galaxy data, i'm reducing data i collected with the gemini telescope earlier this year but havent yet had time to pay attention to, and i'm acting as the primary referee for another group's research by reviewing a paper they would like to publish in a journal (and writing a blog).
eventhough it feels a bit overwhelming to write out the list like that, i know that i'm still just learning how to manage my time while it's all my own... before i have the requirements of a university faculty member. assuming i move forward along the academic ladder, i'll have to take care of the issues above in addition to advising students, sitting on committees, teaching courses, and (hopefully) participating in more exciting research collaborations around the world.
wow. i guess i should appreciate this limbo while i'm in it, eh?