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Equity v. parity

Paul S. Brookes. brookes at uab.edu
Fri Jul 28 14:54:21 EST 2000

Rachelle Bienstock (biensto1 at niehs.nih.gov) wrote:-

[snip]...  You can work five days a week, 8 hours a day and as
long as you demonstrate that you produce for the company this is what
counts. So much in academia is just showing that you were in the lab on
the weekend or at 5 am even if it was hanging around the coffee machine
eating donuts! Or being in the "in crowd", knowing the "big name" people,
being invited to speak at conferences etc...  [/snip]

Actually I think it really depends on the kind of PI you have.  It's been 
my experience in academia (lucky so far?) that so long as you keep churning 
out papers, and produce good results then nobody really gives a damn when 
you are there or not.   There is no formal structure for post-docs in terms 
of both expected hours and healthcare provision, holiday allowance e.t.c, 
so any PI who tries to impose a regime is in a losing battle from the 
start.  Most people are savvy anough to realize when they're in with a bad 
PI who is making their life hell and do something about it - like get a 
different PI or formally complain to the head of department, or just set 
your own timetable and see what happens.  Few PI's can think of an adequate 
response to "so what if I only work a 50hr week, I've had X papers 
published this year".

At the other end of the spectrum, I have observed there are a fair number 
of post-docs who feel it is their duty to work all the hours available, but 
they don't actually seem to be any further on with their careers than those 
of us who choose a more laid back approach - even in the same lab.  I think 
"academia", despite its moniker, is actually populated by quite a few 
stupid people, who have to stay behind working late, reading papers, 
catching up, because they're just too dumb to learn things quick 
enough.   This is one side of academia that gets discussed very little when 
"selling" it to people - the fact that even though you have a job title 
like "researcher" or "post-doc", you're actually just a student - all of 
your academic life is just one big college course, and if you view the end 
of your "formal" education as the last bit of learning you'll ever have to 
do, you're in for a big shock.    I think a universal index of "ability to 
learn" would prove very useful in selecting candidates for academic positions.


Dr. Paul S. Brookes.            (brookes at uab.edu)
UAB Department of Pathology,   G004 Volker Hall
1670 University Blvd., Birmingham AL 35294 USA
Tel (001) 205 934 1915     Fax (001) 205 934 1775

The quality of e-mails can go down as well as up
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