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postdocs and respect

Catherine Sarisky sarisky at cco.caltech.edu
Mon Aug 18 13:19:49 EST 1997

ravena at cco.caltech.edu (Karen Allendoerfer) wrote:
>When I started my postdoc at Caltech in 1993, I got this impression very
>much:  that postdocs were respected and considered to be genuinely
>valuable members of the institute.  I got a "Faculty" ID card and all
>the benefits accrued to faculty (being able to join and eat at the faculty
>club, use the gym for free).  There was also a minimum salary requirement
>that was higher than the NIH minimum.  
>Things have changed somewhat, in that Caltech has created a separate
>category now, called "research fellows" for the newer postdocs.  But
>nonetheless, as a postdoc, I felt quite well-treated by the institution.
>>It is extremely rare for present day post-docs to be treated with any
>>such respect.
Hi Karen,

Actually, what you describe doesn't sound so different from what grad students
at Caltech get.  We get free use of the gym, free (and pretty darn good) health
insurance, and other benefits.  I wonder, aside from having 'faculty' on the
card, how different things are between postdocs and grad students?  My
observation (in chemistry) has been that the grad students and post-docs are
pretty indistinguishable, but that there's a huge gap between the post-docs and
PIs.  (But perhaps the post-docs don't see it that way??)


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