It’s interesting reading some blogs written by current grad students and postdocs in which they disagree with their PI’s way of managing his/her lab and swear they would do things differently if/when they have their own lab.
I, too, had these same thoughts as a grad student and then as a postdoc and had high hopes of being able to concentrate more on the people in my lab but the reality of being a junior TT faculty member brought those hopes crashing down to earth with a thud.
With annual reviews and tenure/promotion looming on the distant horizon, the pressure is on from Day One to fill the lab with productive people and to work them to death cranking out data, publishing and getting grant funding. There’s also teaching, tons of useless committee responsibilities, grant writing, manuscript reviewing, blah, blah, blah, sucking time that could be spent with the lab peeps and helping to develop their own ideas for fanfuckingtastic projects.
The pressure on junior faculty (particularly in the sciences) to publish and get funded is immense and, as much as we want to nurture our lab peeps and look after their interests, our immediate priority is to watch our own backs and make sure we stay on track ... otherwise EVERYONE is out of a job.
Sure, you could try to buck the system as an assistant professor. Take on a couple of promising peeps in the lab, pay them what they are really worth and let them mature as scientists at their own pace. It’s what we would ALL like to do. It just isn’t practical or possible in the current system and at the assistant professor level, you have neither the time nor the money to do this.
Does this make me part of the problem? Undoubtedly, yes.
Is there anything I can do in my current position to remedy this situation? No. Not really. Not if I want to keep my job. And if I’m out of a job, everyone in my lab will be on the street.
Is there anything I could do if/when I am able to become an established PI and gain tenure? Maybe. But probably not.
This Is Me
3 days ago