Someday....

When do I get to that stage where my lab is operated entirely by oppressed trainees who are totally doing the PI job in all ways but name and I get to sit back, eat bonbons and watch my h-index rise? 

30 responses so far

  • Miss MSE says:

    Obviously, you haven't hired the right trainees yet...

  • potnia theron says:

    Any moment now, Ted, any moment.

  • AcademicLurker says:

    Meh. You're only really hardcore if your lab is staffed entirely by robots.

    As for writing the papers and grants, the postmodern generator automatically creates convincing papers on literary theory, surely we can have something similar for scientists.

  • physioprof says:

    I'm pretty sure that high quality trainees are more attracted to labs doing ground-breaking vertically ascending science that gets published in journals people actually read than those squeezing out incremental little turds publishable only in sub-dump journals.

  • DJMH says:

    When do I get to that stage where my lab is operated entirely by oppressed trainees who are totally doing the PI job in all ways but name and I get to sit back, BLOG ALL DAY, and watch my h-index rise?

    ftfy.

  • k elliott says:

    DJMH,

    "ftfy" is not in DM's glossary. What is it? ( if you don't mind sharing, of course)

  • DJMH says:

    fixed that for you.

  • Busy says:

    I've assembled a better team of helpers and assistants over the years. Does that mean I get to sit back and relax? nope! It means we can now attempt to scale higher, more challenging peaks. In attempting such harder tasks each member of the team has less room for error. Less room for error in the lab, in your intuition, in your models, math and statistics.

    So yes, we _do_ benefit enormously from bright and independent trainees but not in the ways most lazy ass armchair critics of academia think we do.

  • drugmonkey says:

    So jerkwad ascending science eleventy PIs exploit their trainees simply because they recruit more exploitable trainees? Interesting PP.

  • physioprof says:

    They're not "exploiting" their trainees. They're providing a super stimulating and well-endowed environment for super bright and ambitious trainees to fulfill their own scientific and professional goals.

  • Stephen Strange says:

    "Super stimulating and well-endowed environment?" "Vertically ascending science?" Never knew there was so much about running a lab I could learn from porn..

  • dsks says:

    "They're not "exploiting" their trainees. They're providing a super stimulating and well-endowed environment for a small fraction of the super bright and ambitious trainees to win the CNS worthy data lottery and fulfill their own scientific and professional goals."

    ftfy

  • SidVic says:

    The capstone of a pyramid is called a pyramidion. I once aspired to be a mighty pyramidion, but i couldn't get a grant to hire all the base stones. Nothing more pitiful than lone pyramidion, bereft of its pyramid.... Cool word by the way, pyramidion... great name for a blog.

  • rxnm says:

    "They're not "exploiting" their trainees. They're providing a super stimulating and well-endowed environment for one out of 6 super bright and ambitious trainees to get a Cell paper and the others to beat a path to a consultancy or whatever vestige of the former pharma industry they still have some connections with thanks to last decade's discarded postdocs."

    FTFY

  • jmz4 says:

    "When do I get to that stage where my lab is operated entirely by oppressed trainees?"
    -When you've been at Harvard, Yale, JHU, UCSF, UC Berkley or any of the other 2% (of the NIH budget) schools since the mid-80's.

  • Noncoding Arenay says:

    "They're providing a super stimulating and well-endowed environment for one out of 6 super bright and ambitious trainees to get a Cell paper and the others to beat a path to a consultancy or whatever vestige of the former pharma industry"

    The one out of six super bright and ambitious trainees gets a faculty position and in a few years becomes disenchanted due to the dismal funding scenario. In the mean time, the other five trainees get paid handsomely in consulting/pharma/biotech, have an equally rewarding life and love their job, thus realizing that they were lucky to not have fallen prey to the golden handcuffs of academia. #notmystory

  • rxnm says:

    "equally rewarding life and love their job"

    No one willing to debase themselves for career advantage to some shitbag boomer megalomaniac in an ILAF postdoc mill is ever going to be happy, Cell paper or not.

  • drugmonkey says:

    "Debase themselves"?

    Harsh.

  • MoBio says:

    "In the mean time, the other five trainees get paid handsomely in consulting/pharma/biotech, have an equally rewarding life and love their job, thus realizing that they were lucky to not have fallen prey to the golden handcuffs of academia.."

    If only it was true that there is this viable path forward for those who do not get academic jobs...

  • Noncoding Arenay says:

    "If only it was true that there is this viable path forward for those who do not get academic jobs..."

    Why wouldn't it be? It is not easy, but it is possible with proper strategizing and reorientation of the sails. It is especially possible when you train with "shitbag boomer megalomaniac" BSDs who usually have a large network and numerous contacts in these areas. I am not supporting exploitation of trainees in these labs, but there are certain advantages, which is why scores of people keep heading in that direction and which in turn feeds the exploitative behavior of the PI. It is a feedback system.

    But I digress from DM's original point. DM, your first step should be to check if you possess the megalomaniac gene: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2002/05/10/552984.htm

  • rxnm says:

    "Harsh."

    I dunno. The friends I had in labs like that--where the relationship with the PI is basically mutual contempt--didn't seem all that happy or filled with self-esteem.

    Labs like that aren't the norm, but there were enough at my PD institution to wonder why it's a "successful" model.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The pyramids weren't built by singing Kumbaya, dude.

  • MoBio says:

    @NA:

    Because there are very few jobs in Pharma/Biotech. It's basically as competitive as academia.

    Very few openings, 100's of applications/job.

  • Noncoding Arenay says:

    @MoBio - not at all. There are thousands of jobs in pharma/biotech, but it is extremely difficult to get a foot in the door without networking. Most folks consider only R&D when they look at industry, but PhDs are eligible for a huge number of positions covering all sorts of responsibilities.

  • rxnm says:

    Truly, the BSDs are the heroes of our age.

    "And Alexander wept, for there were no more Gordon Conferences in his subfield to speak at.

  • toto says:

    Alexander was a wimp. A true BSD would start his own conference, invite his BSD buddies and make it the dominant conference in the field overnight.

    Oh, and of course the meeting would take place in late winter (just after DST switch - maximum warmth-to-snow ratio) in the Rockies.

  • Grumble says:

    Bonbons are overrated.

  • Asian Quarterback says:

    @Noncoding Arenay: Bingo!

    I can only wish our esteemed educational institutions did only a halfway decent job to bring awareness to these roles.

  • Former Technician says:

    My boss has that. You assemble a group of hardworking but personality challenged individuals that no one else wants to work with and therefore they do not get stolen and cannot get tenure track positions.

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