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postdoc disparity

Rachelle J. Bienstock rachelle at picard.niehs.nih.gov
Wed Aug 13 09:09:21 EST 1997

A few comments concerning this discussion.  First of all, I am really
tired of people who give the noble line "you shouldn't be in science for
the money".  It is not a question of being materialistic versus being
alturistic, it is a question of being paid for a skill.  Second of all,
postdocs are really no longer training periods.  Look at postdoc
ads-most P.I.s want a postdoc to bring skills to the lab which they can
use- NOT train the postdoc in new skills.  From my observations, most
postdocs work independently, some even supervising the work of grad
students, and the ones that don't work independently are regarding by
their P.I.'s as not sufficiently mature.  I think the disparity between
postdoc salaries and PIs salaries is apalling...Maybe in the old days
when a postdoc was simply a 2 year training period, but now, with people
staying in several postdocs for many years it is absurd to pay a
trained, educated professional $20-$25K a year.  This is why you can see
all the posts about people becomming patent attorneys, getting MBAs, or
going to med school.  Postdocs have low salaries, long hours, few
benefits and little legal protection.  Are postdocs covered under the
Federal "Medical Leave Act"?  Maternity leave was ususally up to the
disgretion of the PI.  What about medical insurance and other
benefits...Maybe postdocs should join the Teamsters Union..I think they
deserve as much as people who drive UPS trucks! (who make $11-$20 an
hour and have good medical benefits!)

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