Choices----- the other side

Caroline Szymeczek-Seay css at
Thu May 18 13:43:30 EST 2000

bmartin at wrote:

> What happens when the PI retires?
> B. Martin

This is an excellent question, and one I've been thinking about a lot
lately.  As a geographically restricted scientist (that's GRS, for
short) I'm realizing that staying in academia, when one is beyond the
post-doc level, means research track faculty jobs in the lab of an
established PI.  It has to be a pretty well-established PI, because
they're the only ones who have the funds to hire at that level
(initially, at least here at UNC, funding is offered for a year,
sometimes two, and the job duration depends upon one's ability to get
funds to pay one's salary beyond that initial period).  Unfortunately,
the well-established PIs seem to be heading for retirement.  This means
that these research track positions seem to keep ending...either by a
loss of funding, or inability to get funding, or the PI leaves, or the
PI retires.  

So your question is very valid.  Unfortunately, I think that it's the
very long term employees that have the hardest time finding comparable
work when the PI leaves or the money runs out, because they are the most
expensive employees.  Sad, but true.  Most PIs find that it makes better
economic sense to hire 2 postdocs than one research track faculty or one
experienced tech.  I can see the logic, but it's hard to face.


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