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"offers" and "in writing" issues

Sarah Boomer sarai at u.washington.edu
Tue Jun 25 20:32:08 EST 1996

Hello again,

	The woman who posted the thread about post doc offers influenced
me to ask the following question of this group or at least bring this
topic up:  the etiquette of requesting offers "in writing."

	A colleague of mine (I am a grad. student and she recently
finished) basically turned down several excellent post doc "offers" (all
verbal, following interviews) in favor of her top pick.  He flew her out
and promised her there was money, etc. etc.  All their correspondence was
either verbal or via email. Well - now that she's ready to go, he doesn't
have money (a few months have passed) and the whole picture has changed.

	I want to know what other advisors think of this in particular.  I
am interested in whether most people looking for post-docs rely on such
verbal agreements.  A male post doc in our lab said his boss counseled him
repeatedly never to (1)  give a lab that delays or forget to call back a
second consideration or (2)  accept an offer from someone who won't offer
EVERYTHING in writing.  My limited impression dealing with people in
academics, though, is that the "in writing" idea is considered bad
etiquette, an insult to the profession (this was actually said to another
collegue of mine).

	I'd really appreciate some feedback on this one - especially with
respect to perhaps recommending strategies for my friend (she is currently
being supported by our understanding boss).   I'd also like to hear
(politely would be nice) people's honest opinion of whether students
should know this already, be counseled openly, should expect everything in
writing, etc.

	Thank you so much,  Sarah

Sarah Boomer				email:  sarai at u.washington.edu
Dept. of Microbiology			work phone:  543-3376
Box 357242				work FAX:  543-3376
University of Washington
Seattle, WA  98195

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