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Research ethics survey

Linnea Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Fri Feb 28 18:50:20 EST 1997

On 28 Feb 1997, Annette C. Hollmann wrote:

> >
> >This is not a 9-5, weekends-free profession.  Getting a PhD isnt a job.
> >If being a student were like having a job, the pay would be a lot 
> >better.  This should not be a surprise to anyone.  If you go to 
> >graduate school, you must be prepared to work hard.  My technician
> >has a 40 hour week.  My students don't.  It's no different
> >for me as a PI.  Certainly I work more than 40hrs/wk, and
> >I'm not threatening my employer with Federal law.  If I don't work hard,
> >I won't get grants or publish papers, my contract won't be renewed 
> >and I'll be out on my ear.  That's real life.  No one said it was fair.
> It's not really the 40 hours a week, it's who decides how much overtime is 
> enough. I call it overtime even though it really isn't so that when
> someone tells me that doing my best isn't good enough, I can maintain my
> sanity by remembering that I'm usually working the equivalent of 1.5 or 2
> real jobs. Anybody who calls me lazy doesn't have his head on right.
>  If your student was working his ... off and your
> tech continually berated him for not working hard enough, wouldn't he have
> the right to be just a little annoyed at the tech? Now, if the student
> were working 60 hours, and you, working 80 hours, set him straight, that
> would be completely different. You would be leading by example, and doing
> more than your fair share.
<big snip>

> >What do you do? 
> >Do you want to keep paying this student for the 7 or 8 years it
> >will take her to get her PhD?  Or would you rather be paying the
> >young tiger who puts her all into it, and gets out in 4 years?  
> The point here isn't the 40 hours, but the falling behind.
> I would look at two things:
> what was attempted, and what was accomplished.
> If not enough was attempted, the student would have 3 choices:
> get more efficient
> work more hours
> take a masters and become a tech
Okay I passed up on the first "tech" remark. I won't on the second.  I 
have "only" a masters, and, egad, it is one of those consolation masters 
given because I failed my dissertation at the defense (another long 

I am employed as a "Laboratory Supervisor". It is *supposed* to be a 40 
hour a week job. It is more for me like a 60 hour a week job and I do not 
get overtime. And, yes, I am introduced to most people as "the tech" when 
they come in the lab.

I love my job. I head up my own project, have published (as first 
author), and supervise the lab. What I am getting a little testy at here 
is the implication that a tech job is something for someone who doesn't 
want to work too hard. I know several others for whom this is *not* a 
mere "40 hour a week plus weekends off" job. I am here as much as the 
post docs and certainly more than *most* of the grad students (this is a 
big issue in the lab now. We are a multidisciplinary group of scientists 
and engineers. The science grad students put in more hours than the 
engineers. We are not sure why). 

My point is I am not a "tech" because I am lazy or inefficient. I work 
the long hours because I have a lot to do and I love the project I am on!
I am not certain I want to try my luck at another PhD program not because 
I don't think I can do it (I would know enough this time around to spot a 
"dud" project), but because I am really worried about job prospects 
*with* a PhD.  My boss is actively encouraging me to go back and I may 
reconsider after I have paid off the student loans from bachelor's and my 
last grad school experience.

My how I have rambled.

Intersting thread, though.

Have a great weekend everyone (either in or out of the lab).


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