To be fair though, a lot of my postdoc friends feel really pressured to publish. I know a few people as well who are finding it hard to get employed because they haven't published enough papers in enough reputable journals.
That's fair enough comment, I've just sifted through 39 applications to get it down to the six we're interviewing for one postdoctoral position. The reason we couldn't get it down much further is that pretty much all six (and probably more already discounted) would be capable of doing the job well. Publications have had an important part to play in that selection process, but they're not the only things considered. As I said previously, whilst I hope my skills have had a lot to do with me getting to where I have in such a short space of time in my career, there is undoubtedly a healthy dose of luck also.
Whilst I think the pressure to publish has become a little extreme, especially for non-tenured staff, I do think there is a certain amount of merit in it. There are too many scientists who spend most of their careers publishing little, which is frankly a waste of research funds, if they're going to do research then never report its findings. Non-published research is an oxymoron.
I work in an industry related to pharmaceuticals and a senior pharmaceutical industry exec told me last month that there aren't really any interesting molecules left un-discovered. The industry is laying off hundreds of scientists as a consequence.
They should come and work in my field. Soil organic matter is pretty much just a vast array of interesting, unquantified molecules!