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S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Tue Jun 17 21:21:16 EST 1997

Betty Woolf wrote:

> I certainly don't mean to flame you, but I see here an underlying
> assumption made by PI's, postdocs, and graduate students that I've never
> cared for: that techs lack the love of science that folks who choose to
> pursue a PhD possess.  When I was a tech, I worked 45-55 hours per week
> because I couldn't wait to get to the lab in the morning, couldn't stand
> to wait until Monday to see how Friday's experiments worked out, just like
> the other members of my lab.  I made a personal decision not to pursue a
> PhD, and it's one I've never regretted, but it doesn't mean I don't love
> science.  

That's a personal choice and I certainly DON'T mean to suggest that
techs don't love the science!  However, I DO mean to suggest
that anyone who *expects* a tech to overwork without pay or
at least recognition, is a creep.  If my tech wants to work
longer because he loves it, great!  As long as it's HIS choice,
and he's not feeling screwed into working free overtime.  If
he doesnt want to work 60 hours a week, that's okay--I don't
demand he do so.  Because to demand it without compensation
would be unfair and wrong.

> I'm not saying that exploitation of techs doesn't exist -- it certainly
> does, and it sounds like there's more than a little of it in Linnea's
> lab.  And I'm not saying that every tech wants to work overtime with no
> monetary compensation.  However, please understand that some techs can
> feel "justly compensated" working 50 hours a week and being treated as an
> integral part of the project, including first authorship on publications,
> inclusion in strategy meetings, etc.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest anything else.  My only point 
was that a responsible supervisor makes sure that their 
employees are not coerced into working excessive hours;  if
the employee chooses to, that's a different story.  Also,
the responsible employer  makes sure  that their employees' 
contributions are recognized, if not financially, then otherwise. 
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and no one likes to
feel exploited.  

I'm  not trying to imply that technicians aren't "real 
scientists" or aren't crucial members of the team or don't love 
science.  I've never said that nor felt that way.  
I'm just saying that technicians should be valued and 
treated with respect as employees. 

And IMHO Linnea should be classified honestly for the work
she does.

DON'T REPLY to the email address in header.
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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 
"These are my opinions.  I don't have  
time to speak for anyone else."

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