The introduction of cognitive capitalism in the academic environment implemented a market-driven logic which transformed the processes behind knowledge production and mobility of scholars. Today, knowledge workers are forced to acquire many skills and experiences as a mandatory requisite to begin and build their careers. At the beginning of his or her path as researcher, the academic system induces the young researcher to embody individualized and competitive practices in a context of growing work and life precarity. We observed two – only apparently ‒ contradictory trends: on one side, the young researcher is demanded to stand out and distinguish himself by accumulating skills and experiences, whereas, on the other side, this process preordains a rigid conformity of his networks, mobility decisions and knowledge production. This inherent ambiguity of knowledge work falls upon both individuals and the way we understand knowledge. Eventually, the performance of “standing out in conformity” amplifies mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion which result in the production of new social and work inequalities.