STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE, POSTDOCS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!!!!!

Jul 10 2015 Published by under Careerism, Fixing the NIH, Postdoctoral Training

GDR:

Lastly, there IS one way to experimentally test how much a PD is worth, at least to PIs, and you are promoting that test, whether you know it or not. And that is a PD strike. I would love to see you discussing how spoiled PDs are in between gel runs because your PD is really not there. I think 50K/yr wouldn't sound that much then.

Go ahead dudes, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

22 responses so far

  • Philapodia says:

    Viva la Revolución!

  • profduder says:

    DM, I can tell you are a responsible person when it comes to mentoring postdocs. But, not everyone is. There are some first class asshole exploitive PIs out there.

    Check out the contract that the UC postdoc union negotiated. None of it is unreasonable to responsible PIs, but it probably made the exploitive assholes squirm:
    http://uaw5810.org/

  • genomicrepairman says:

    We shall rise up against the imperialist jackboot that presses upon the necks of the lowly and downtrodden...hold on my gel just finished running. Yadda yadda yadda, protests and some shit.

    I'd settle for a proper (read: defined) leave policy for postdocs where I'm at.

  • MF says:

    Well, I just don't have any postdocs since I was not so sure it was worth it (moneywise) to hire PDs with the amount of money I can get from a single R01. I have to spend money on animals and supplies as well, after all. So I will continue running gels myself or asking my technician to do it; not a big deal.

  • other MM says:

    Why are people supporting a postdoc long term on an RO1 anyway? Isn't that a conflict of interest since postdocs are supposed to be developing their own thing as independent scientists, and being on a PIs RO1 basically means you're a tool to their main project? Would it make more sense to only allow support for staff to be paid off an RO1? How are you being trained as an independent thinker when you're just following the path your PI laid out in an aim? How do PIs that don't encourage their postdocs to get their own funding rationalize this?

  • Krzysztof Sakrejda says:

    "Go ahead dudes, you have nothing to lose but your chains."

    Oh sure, he wants post-docs to support him with his reform-the-NIH crusade but when you need his help you won't find DM at the barricades. It's all "go ahead dudes".

  • JustAGrad says:

    "Why are people supporting a postdoc long term on an RO1 anyway?"

    What is long term? Paylines for F32s with some ICs are just as low as R01s. If a postdoc has to, on average, apply ten times for an F32 to win one, would they already have been supported long enough to be considered long term? Hell, even five applications would take a good amount of time if they are expected to be working full time on the PI's research.

  • kalevala says:

    DM whipped up the postdoc masses into a frenzy, hoping they would go after the Boomer BSDs that have oppressed his cohort of mid career Gen Xers, and is now horrified that they lust for ALL principle investigator blood!

  • other MM says:

    @JustAGrad

    You aren't eligible for an F32 for more than 2 years after you enter a lab, so 2 years would be the max commitment for a PI. See Q13 http://www.nigms.nih.gov/training/indivpostdoc/pages/PostdocFellowsFAQ.aspx

  • Ola says:

    Aha, now we see the violence inherent in the system!
    Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

  • Rheophile says:

    @other MM:

    I believe this is only an NIGMS policy, not NIH-wide.

  • other MM says:

    @Rheophile- thanks for the clarification- I hadn't realized that.

    To add, a lot of the other fellowship options that many of my international friends have also have time limits, generally around those for NIGMS, some with an extra year, some with a shorter window. Some have no window, but those seem more rare at least in my field.

    And the time spent writing is not wasted. Planning carefully the logic and execution of what you are going to do was valuable in itself. Getting your thoughts reviewed by those outside your lab but inside your field is very helpful. It also provides a mechanism to talk about goals etc with your mentor so you can both get what you want and need out of your time in his/her lab.

  • Sam N says:

    Fucking hell, Drug Monkey. I really like your blog. Not kind of like, 'really' like it. But do you have to make the generalization from one postdoc spouting off. I get you're 'trying' to be funny. But we are clearly not some uniform block. Organizing postdocs is more difficult than herding cats.

  • JustAGrad says:

    I certainly don't think time writing grants is time wasted. I'm just worried that PIs who hire postdocs and fund them with their R01s will think the time is wasted.

    I suppose where I was going when I first addressed your comment about PIs supporting postdocs is that it is unreasonable to expect that to change given the extremely low postdoc fellowship funding rates. It is certainly unreasonable before the postdoc begins because the PhD student may have to submit several mostly unrelated applications with a variety of PIs before winning one. I don't know how common people put in more than one or two F32 applications before graduating. Thus it seems that most postdocs must begin their work on a PI's grant.

  • Krzysztof Sakrejda says:

    @Sam N: go read the original and DM's response. He's just trolling. GDR's original response was quite good and that's just the final paragraph.

  • Sam N says:

    Yeah Krzysztof Sakrejda, I read the original post before commenting here. And GDR makes some very good points, but I still can't get behind everything he says or the tone of his message. Just like I can't get behind some of what DrugMonkey has said.

  • E rook says:

    Are there guidelines for tone trolling on scientopia?

  • Zuska says:

    UNLEASH THE FURY OF POSTDOCS AS A MIGHTY FORCE FOR REVOLUTION!!!

  • E rook says:

    Btw, in the UC post doc UAW agreement, there is a provision forbidding striking, sympathy or otherwise. I think PD's striking is the most self defeating thing a PD could possibly do and I don't think it'll ever happen. I think it's so far fetched of an idea that it barely merits discussion. I felt this way when I was a post doc in the UC system trying to explain to the UAW reps what our career trajectories are like. (I voted against joining the union, btw, because it only codified a system that more or less was already in. Place and only benefits UAW who skim dues from the PD salaries and the lawyers representing both management and labor; more bloat in the system where it serves no demonstrable good so far as I could tell from their printed materials and testimony).

  • Dennis Eckmeier says:

    " I have to spend money on animals and supplies as well, after all. So I will continue running gels myself or asking my technician to do it; not a big deal."

    It wouldn't be worth the postdoc's time, anyways, if it's no big deal.

    "Isn't that a conflict of interest since postdocs are supposed to be developing their own thing as independent scientists, and being on a PIs RO1 basically means you're a tool to their main project? "

    Obviously every postdoc needs to be clear what project he will be doing before he starts. This should be part of the interview. If the postdoc doesn't see the project fitting to his or her goals, don't take that position.

    Both sides need to agree that the further development of the project is in the hands of BOTH, the PD and the PI, before you take the position.

  • potnia theron says:

    Everyone is the hero of their own story.

  • jmz4gtu says:

    "Obviously every postdoc needs to be clear what project he will be doing before he starts. This should be part of the interview. If the postdoc doesn't see the project fitting to his or her goals, don't take that position."
    -I have seen this go disastrously wrong when the PI decides to change the PD's project after he has already moved across the country.

Leave a Reply