The Sassy Scientist – Whining Unleashed

The Sassy Scientist – Whining Unleashed

We are all underpaid and underappreciated. That is almost the dictionary definition of academic jobs. We bounce from one barely acceptable contract to the next, hoping to finally land a tenure-track position that allows us to swim in money like Scrooge McDuck. But before that, science itself should be its own reward and sustenance. Sometimes though, we hear from a friend of a friend about a colleague that got a promotion or a pay raise. Whether these legends are grounded in truth or are simply a rumour spread to give hope to us cheap labourer is still debated. But nonetheless they got Mia’s attention:

How to ask for more money from your (current/future) insitution (or simply don’t?)

Dear Mia,

You whine. A lot. If what we are talking about is a new position, you tell them that your current post is paying you much more than what they are offering you. If you are already hired and are looking for a pay raise, find about other people at your level that are making more money than you are, and tell your institution that you found out about it. After all you are the best at what you do, and therefore irreplaceable. Your hefty track record clearly suggests you are one Nature publication away from winning a Nobel Prize. Make that clear.

But timing is everything. Especially for a new position. Wait till you have the new contract in front of you. Before signing it, unleash the whining. You were sure you did agree on a higher salary than what you are reading. Why the sudden and unexpected change? Surely this was just a clerical error?

If the whining doesn’t work, you could always resort to the good old blackmailing. Find another position that pays more, march in your (current or future) boss’ office and tell them you have new conditions if they want to keep you there. I hear that always works out nicely.

Though, now that I think of that, I may be confusing academia with a normal job environment. I don’t know…it’s hard to keep track.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: Now off to request my weekly bonus for writing these posts.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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