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View Diary: Trashing experience and skill is just one more weapon in the war on workers (184 comments)

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  •  They're certainly depressing them. (9+ / 0-)

    There's all sorts of machinations going on beneath the surface between the "tenure track" and the "research track" of professorships.

    But when I asked my boss - himself a "research professor" (i.e. in the ghettoized track) how he'd like to try to live on $20K a year in Ann Arbor, he responded with a story about his kids taking unpaid internships to start their careers, and hinted that I was being a spoiled child about it.

    I told him that unfortunately, I don't have wealthy parents to keep a roof over my head while I did "unpaid internship" work, and that landlords, banks, and utilities didn't take "social good" as payment.

    The conversation did not end well.

    •  Man. That's cruel. But lots of people don't have (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArchTeryx, fhcec, tofumagoo, qofdisks, Philpm

      that empathy gene, and I suppose he was defensive....

      $20k would not suffice. After your years of work. I'd say those who are professors are the spoiled children. As I commented above Is was married to one. He was at first a "research prof" and having graduated from Harvard and taught one course there always thought very well of himself. (Well, aside, when he was in a bipolar manic episode actually thought he was Christ.) Sheesh, didn't think I'd go there. ;~}

      It makes me wonder. How many Ph.D.'s are out there without jobs in their fields. Rather incredible how the whole enterprise is oriented around the fiction that there are jobs for the grad students, isn't it?

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:41:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You hit the nail on the head about the... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, tofumagoo, qofdisks, Philpm, nolagrl

        ...whole enterprise.  It's just a series of carrots dangled in front of grad students that lead to the edge of a cliff.

        And yet, the unemployment rate of bioscience Ph.D.s is supposed to be 2%.  What in the hell are they employed DOING if not their field?  I've been looking for alternate careers for 20 years and been told by employer after employer that my bioscience Ph.D. is entirely worthless.

        My boss, though...he I really expected better from.  He's treated me very well from the very beginning, like junior faculty when I was just a tech, even took me out at his expense to biweekly business dinners.  He seemed to actually be a human being, and it's perfectly possible that he sees me as repudiating HIS hard work to find me any sort of "bridge funding" at all.

        The fault doesn't lie with him.  It lies with the institution.  He's just the messenger.

      •  Hate to tell you but Ph.D is almost a negative (4+ / 0-)
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        ArchTeryx, xaxnar, qofdisks, Philpm

        in the "real world."    I did a lot of job interviews for a company you have heard of (on the interviewer side of the desk); if you are after a job in the real world except in very specialized fields you should probably stop with a Master's.     Hard to explain exactly but ask yourself what company wants to hire a 35-year-old student fresh out of college who knows a lot about something that isn't quite what the company does?

        Don't expect to get rich because you are smart and work hard in a socially necessary field.    Look at Bush and Romney.    'nuff said?

        My dad's best student ever found happiness and a certain amount of wealth as a roofer -- he was good at it.

        •  US Dept of Ed stats used to show... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tofumagoo, qofdisks, GreenMother, Philpm

          that Master's increased salary, but PhD did not. Don't know current stats, but given that, of the three PhD level scientists trained in biotech that I know, two are out of work (one going on long term, and one after moving his family a couple years ago to the East Coast for a biotech job). The third has started his own firm in a field outside biotech, after deciding the venture funding model in that field was grossly flawed and he didn't want to be part of it, nor did he want to go to academia, having observed his father's highly successful career in that arena.

          Job market seems pretty bleak indeed for PhD level scientists unless you can find a tenured position in a major university. Rare indeed.

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:06:26 AM PDT

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          •  What a sad state of affairs. PhDs are supposed to (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Philpm, Dirtandiron, Blueiz

            be a sign of someone's expertise. But instead is seen as a threat to management. After all if Management has an Associates or a BA from Phoenix and the new hire has a PhD from an actual university--I wonder how that would play out politically.

            Goddamn--My Kingdom for want of a working neuron!

      •  20K is less than public school teachers make in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Philpm, Dirtandiron

        the state of Oklahoma. That is one of the lowest paying states in the union. So there is a sad-marker for you.

        In 2009, we were 49th in the nation with pays over 40K a year. It looks the same in 2012.

        So um--wow.

        •  Locally, it is a cruel joke. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, GreenMother, Gorette

          The janitors make substantially more.

          •  I am not laughing. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ArchTeryx, Gorette
          •  Yes, it really sucks. I know it's not what you (0+ / 0-)

            want but have you considered high school science teaching in a place that offers the higher range of salaries in that field? I've done some teaching, and at least it has the value of being very rewarding on a personal level.

            Best of luck to you. I do empathize. You've worked so hard and done everything you were supposed to do and kept looking for jobs so it doesn't seem like there's much more you can do in that field. But you need somewhere to put your talents and brain to work. I sure hope you find what you need.

            "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

            by Gorette on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 01:41:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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