Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Part time postdoc

Okay, take 3 at this blogging thing. I'm going to try dictating what I want my blog to say during my hour-long commute each day, and then editing it later. My hope is that will allow me more time to do this on a regular basis. I'm feeling the need to vent again, as it's been another two years since my last post. I'm not sure how the dictation is going to work, but I'll edit when I get home today and see how it goes. So what I need to vent about now is...wait, I should reintroduce myself. I now have a PhD, earned in May of 2014, and I very shortly got pregnant with my second son, who was born in March 2015. So my Big Guy is 5, my Little Bit is 8 months, and I am a postdoc in the same lab where I got my PhD. 

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I have an hour plus commute each way, so given the hours that childcare is available, minus the commuting time, I am unable to work full-time. I decided I am able to reliably work about 25 hours a week, and my boss has decided that he is no longer willing to pay me as a full-time postdoc. I'm in the process of converting to a part-time position, but it's still unclear whether I will be moving up to the faculty level equivalent that postdocs are usually promoted to after they've been at the University too long, or demoted to a senior technician / staff position.  The main differences are in leave tracking and benefits - pay is flexible enough on either end to keep me at approximately the same base salary. I tried to convince my PI that I was worth more on an hourly basis, but my lack of productivity as measured by first author papers (I have zero)...ah...well, this just didn't go over well. 

Honestly, I'm pissed. I'm furious that I have earned a PhD and developed a very unique and strong skill set in data analysis and other hard to replace things, and I'm not even worth enough money to support my family on the number of hours that I can legitimately work within the hours that I have childcare and an hour commute. This is insane! I need to start looking for another job, maybe in another lab, but negotiating for a better paid part-time position from the get-go, or maybe in industry. I am definitely willing to relocate, and maybe I can avoid living an hour away from wherever I work this time. 

I don't even know what to say. I don't know how to put into words how angry and disappointed and sad I am right now. Not just at my boss personally (I feel very undervalued by him right now), but it's also the institutional structure of academia that makes it impossible for him to pay me a reasonable amount...well, not impossible, but...hard. It's ridiculous that I can have the [dictation interpreted "Tryon halogen"...WTF was I trying to say there??] and unique skill set, and I can't establish the worklife balance that I need to keep myself sane and my family cared for, emotionally, physically, and financially. Something is broken. It sucks because I'm taking a $15,000 pay cut in order to work part time, but it still feels like full time because it's still a commitment from first thing in the morning to last thing at night, and I have no free time whatsoever. I can't even maintain my household. 

Unfortunately, this driving and dictating thing is not working very well because it stops every few seconds, and I have to look at my phone to figure out where it stopped and press the microphone button again, and then the podcast I was listening to restarts itself even though I closed the program. So I'm just going to edit this post and put it up, and we'll see if I ever get around to writing anymore because I have no time. 

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