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PhD and Postdoc salary?


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#16 Trof

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:26 AM

@ascacioc
I know you didn't ask for that, but I kind of couldn't help it ;)
I will try to find some info about the ratio you are interested in.

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#17 leelee

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:02 AM

Here is what I know about the situation in Australia.

PhD scholarships are $25 000 per year (tax free)- so about $2000 per month (which is about 1500 euro)
They go for 3 1/2 years, after which you usually have to finish up unpaid.

Post docs start from $65 000 (this would be your 1st post doc starting salary) per year before tax- $5400 per month (about 4200 euro)

Does that help? :)

#18 ascacioc

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:16 AM

Thanks guys. You are very helpful. Keep them coming from all the countries.

Andreea

#19 casandra

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 07:09 PM

I have a question. More like I need help to make some international statistics about the pay of PhD students vs Postdocs. I am a PhD student in Germany at a Max Planck Institute. There were recently discussions in between the PhD community and the general administration about fair pay of the PhD students. The story is like this: in Germany, a PhD student is considered half a Postdoc (as the president of Max Planck Society 'nicely' explained in Spiegel, one of the most read newspapers here), as such he will be paid only half a Postdoc salary. This is when students are on working contracts. So, the brutto salary of a PhD student is 1700 €, after tax one gets like 1200 € a month. A Postdoc gets exactly double the brutto, but after taxes he gets a bit less than 2400€.


Unless it’s a real good competitive doctoral award from the CIHR or CGS-Canada Graduate Scholarships eg Banting and Best, Bell, Vanier etc ($30,000 +/yr), most PhD fellowships on the average is about 20-22,000. If they have to pay tuition fee and health insurance, then the net income gets even more reduced (but they don’t need to pay taxes in the end). The postdoc salary usually starts from 38,000 but many institutions now peg the minimum at 40,000 (and this can go a lot higher depending on experience and qualifications). Regarding the postdoc net income, it would depend on how they are classified: https://sites.google...stdoc-in-canada. So over-all, yup, the proportion of PhD to a postdoc fellowship is about half and sometimes even less than half.

But isn’t this expected? The postdocs already have the degree, done their tour of duty so to speak and probably slaved away 4 to 7 years of their lives (compared to how many of yours- one, two?) so they deserve to be paid more. if you look at it from their angle (after PhD, that’s usually the next step), would you then think it’s fair to get the same salary as a PhD student? Perhaps, the president of Max Planck is reluctant to change policies and increase the salary of PhD students not bec he's being difficult or scroogey but bec he may have to implement a parallel increase for the postdoc fellowship as well?

I mean, on average they do not produce more articles and they do not work longer (it is almost 1 AM here and I am in the lab; the only other people here are other 2 PhD students, just saying...)


The difference is they already have the degree and the experience iow, more qualifications than just what a mere student has (I know, I know….even if some of them are what you referred to as ‘idiots’ in the other thread :P). But back to burning the midnight oil, is your boss forcing you to do 16-hr work days? If you’re working this long and this hard, is it for him or the lab or yourself? I think that this rampant self-exploitation is one of the roots of the problem hence producing such a sense of injustice and unfairness. If you’re getting only 20,000 euros and work on the average 80 to 90 hr weeks then you are definitely grossly underpaid and this surely violates labour laws. But are you being coerced to do this….or is it just the lab culture? And if a new PhD student comes, they’d end up doing the same thing just to fit in less they be labelled lazy, unmotivated, or not hard-working enough. So this style of work ethic is perpetuated year in year out. Perhaps if this cycle of self-exploitation is broken, then the PIs wouldn’t be expecting too much or would not build their lab’s output and success around PhD students ‘cheap' labour.

Btw, how much of an increment are you pushing for (in relation to a postdoc’s salary?) almost at par? This can be counterproductive bec a PI might not choose a PhD student over a postdoc if he’s paying them the same salary anyways. Just my two cents.
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#20 hobglobin

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 02:05 AM

Because I'm working in Germany, here it's more or less the same (i.e. both PhD students and postdocs are in the same salary level of German public service (here TV-L 13), only with 50% paid working time for most PhDs (there are a few lucky with more) and postdocs (with 50-100% working time, where the portion of more than 50% is higher).

A few other comments:
Doing PhD at Max-Planck is surely more challenging and the workload higher compared to other institutions, anyway when you got a PhD there, then it's like a foot in the door for a good scientific career (usually) Posted Image. And well compared to other institutions which are usually underfinanced, at Max Planck with lots of funds, few or now students and highly motivated staff, the research conditions are very good. So actually the others should be the ones to complain.

A professor explained to me once, that the 50% paid working time for PhD is given (from a formal point of view), because the student works 50% for a project (which can be also include work for his/her degree, but this is not a must) and the other 50% are for the degree, which is more or less a voluntary part, that is the student's own "problem" and the work is only for him-/herself (which includes also thesis writing, publications, reading papers etc etc). The payment for this part is the "Dr. rer. nat." in the end....

Edited by hobglobin, 09 October 2012 - 07:45 AM.

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...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#21 ascacioc

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:47 AM

Btw, how much of an increment are you pushing for (in relation to a postdoc’s salary?) almost at par? This can be counterproductive bec a PI might not choose a PhD student over a postdoc if he’s paying them the same salary anyways. Just my two cents.


Thank you for your opinion. It matters to me even though sometimes it is against my opinion. In your last sentence you pointed out a very interesting thing that I would use as a counterargument to your position. First of all, I will answer the question of by how much we want to increase the salaries: the DFG (German Research Foundation) recommends that for PhD students in life sciences/biosciences, the contract should be 65% (now is 50%) while, for physicists and engineers, the contract should be 75%. We are fighting for this recommendation to be imposed in Max Planck Society and then to be used as an example for the entire Germany.

I am not fighting for more money. I definitely do not do that. I did not care about this Fair Pay initiative too much up to the point in which we were called half a scientist in a renown newspaper because duuuh we are paid half the salary. I do not know how much this half is stressed in other countries. But we have a contract of 50% scientist. Really. Everywhere, it is half a position. I understand that the postdocs should get more. I totally do understand that. They have more experience, they are responsible for more students and technicians. It is different. However, a PhD does not make half a postdoc. Because of this: for the money we have to pay for a postdoc we rather get 2 PhD students, for this reason alone, I believe that there are more PhD positions open than postdocs. We produced so many PhD students that in the end do not have where to go. Because everybody prefers to have 2 PhDs rather than a postdoc. However, if we start demanding more money (aka we sell ourselves more expensive) than this will lead to a decrease in PhD positions offer and an increase in free positions for postdocs. Indeed, it will be more competitive to get a PhD position, but in the end those who will finish with a PhD will not be unemployed. I hear more and more about people trying to apply for postdoc or industry positions with a PhD degree. I hear stories of 60-70 applications for a few of interviews and to get one lousy offer. I even heard of people finishing a PhD and staying at home for 1 year afterwards looking for smth. Anything. In the end, they become sells reps. Do you need a PhD to sell machines for labs? Since when does a high degree such as PhD is the qualification you need to sell stuff for labs? Is this, overall ok? I believe we all do not agree with this situation. And we have to change smth. We have to change the system. We have to make smth. Because we all have the same problem. Don't you think?

It is not that I want more money. Really not. I mean, I work all the time in the lab. For what would I need more money? Clothes or shoes? I but myself the cheapest t-shirts and jeans and sneakers because for 16 h days standing you do not need fancy clothes. Also the same for jewelry. Then, traveling? well, I have minimum vacation which I do not take unless I am exhausted and I go home and sleep on my couch for one week to relax. Then there is also this going to my home country once a year to visit my mother. It is not too expensive. Also: since I am only sleeping in my apartment, I do not need the most fancy one. So...why would I need more money? It is not about the money; it is about what it means. As long as we, the PhD students are willing to sell ourselves for so little, they will value us by that much. I mean, this president also said in the same article that a PhD is not about the money. It is about the spirit. And he also said that a PhD in a Max Planck Institute is an honer for us. Ok. I agree that I am that lucky to be here. Every morning I enter the institute and I still cannot believe it that I am here. It is like the research heaven. However, I did not win the lottery. I worked my ass off to be here. I work my ass off to deserve to be here. All of you work your asses to be where you are. We all deserve recognition. It is indeed a training. However, we are also qualified people, doing qualified work. Compare our salaries with the average salaries of people having a MSc degree. Hell. Compare our salaries with a technician salary. And here you get technician by finishing highschool + 2 years of training for becoming a technician. And here, considering the numbers above, a technician, 20 years old, barely out of the technical school gets 2000-2500 € brutto (our brutto is 1700 €) and one that is 60 years old (40 years of experience) gets like 2000-2500 € netto (depends on children and extra things that people earn; we have a point system in Max Planck for technicians). Again. Do not get me wrong. I do not disrespect technicians. However, why on Earth, a person who does not even have a Bachelor degree even, deserves more money than us? This is why, they actually treat everybody like they are the bosses and we are all in kindergarten. (see: http://www.labspaces...see_each_other_ which is sooo true)

To sum it up: we should stop being cheap whores who tell everybody that we enjoy our work and that we are happy to do it for no money. We are highly educated people who deserve a future ensured by having enough postdoc positions opened. And, mostly, we deserve to be respected for what we do. Because no matter what you think about your own research (it might be depressing sometimes not to get results for months): we are the pillars of scientific advancement. Who else if not us?

Andreea

#22 ascacioc

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:19 AM

A few other comments:
Doing PhD at Max-Planck is surely more challenging and the workload higher compared to other institutions, anyway when you got a PhD there, then it's like a foot in the door for a good scientific career (usually) Posted Image. And well compared to other institutions which are usually underfinanced, at Max Planck with lots of funds, few or now students and highly motivated staff, the research conditions are very good. So actually the others should be the ones to complain.

Yeain...how the German would put it. The work is not more challenging. The topics are sexy and the amount of money we can spend for consumables is insane. I mean while the rest of the people work hard in finding the cheap way to do smth, we just use the fast, expensive way. So what is more challenging: smart ways to get smth cheap or do it the straightforward way? And the staff is not highly motivated. Actually, today I would not want to comment on the topic since I will be totally bitchy on this point. But let's put it this way: I came from a place where they offered limited contracts and I was learning a lot from highly motivated technicians; here, after the 6 months of probation, technicians have a permanent position; so there is no reason for them to keep up their motivation because it is almost impossible to get fired. Not that all of Max Planck technicians/staff is bad or smth. I have seen here also the most great technician (I have one here that I would rather talk to when I need a 2nd opinion than to other researchers Posted Image; she is on vacation now, hence my nervous breakdown). However, there is no reason to be motivated when you have a permanent position in the greatest place.

Secondly, I do not agree that we should not be the ones that should complain. Yes, you should also be the ones who complain. But we do it for you. We do it for Germany. Because we are the privileged ones. It is always the duty of the privileged ones to fight the right fight for everybody. It was with feminists in western world that fight for those in the developing countries. Like Isabel Allende who popularized the women sex-slaves in Asia; the women who fought in Africa (http://www.ted.com/t...of_passion.html) Amnesty international also fights for human rights around the world even though they are coming from a privileged country. Because the privileged ones are the ones who have the tools to fight for the others. We are not fighting for Max Planck, we want to make an example from us to be imposed in the entire country. There was this Fair Pay petition in Max Planck (>1500 signatures) a few months ago that not only that attracted the press (FAZ, Spiegel etc) but the petition initiators (whom I personally know because I work along them in the lab, institute and all these student organizations I am involved in) were invited in the Bundestag because we cannot have unhappy students in Max Planck. Because we are the Max Planck and people listen to us. And the government cares if we are a bit unhappy. And our unhappiness raises awareness. And they, Caro, Andreas, Theresa and Hendrik, the initiators of the petition do not say that only the Max Planck is unhappy. They say that all the students are unhappy. And they listen. And things changed for us. Few things: the amount of the scholarships changed. They also made the rules in such a way that it would be increasingly difficult for a PI to offer a scholarship over the more advantageous contract. And the most important: awareness was raised. Awareness in the government who actually were very open to all of this.

A professor explained to me once, that the 50% paid working time for PhD is given (from a formal point of view), because the student works 50% for a project (which can be also include work for his/her degree, but this is not a must) and the other 50% are for the degree, which is more or less a voluntary part, that is the student's own "problem" and the work is only for him-/herself (which includes also thesis writing, publications, reading papers etc etc). The payment for this part is the "Dr. rer. nat." in the end....


Yeain again. Of course the PI will not tell you: well, I also find it unfair, but on my old times we were not paid at all and we did it out of our parents money. So live with it. What we do is work. And btw it is the same work independent of either you get a contract or a scholarship. And take care: scholarship actually means that you do not have to inform people about when or for how long you are going on vacation. And nobody can force you for lab duties even seminar presentations or presenting a poster in a conference. Because scholarships are not salaries. If you are forced to do any of the above it is, by German law, schwarz arbeit (black labor) because if you do work, then you have to pay taxes. Since scholarships are tax free, than it is not work so nobody can force you to work even for a min for getting a scholarship. Don't you love German law?

Andreea

#23 casandra

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:16 PM

I am not fighting for more money. I definitely do not do that. I did not care about this Fair Pay initiative too much up to the point in which we were called half a scientist in a renown newspaper because duuuh we are paid half the salary.

It is not about the money; it is about what it means. As long as we, the PhD students are willing to sell ourselves for so little, they will value us by that much. I mean, this president also said in the same article that a PhD is not about the money. It is about the spirit.



Well, perhaps for most of us doing research, of course, it is not about the money (otherwise, we would be in a different line of work) but unfortunately for us, it is all about the money and economics from pov of the president of Max Planck Institute to the university chancellors and the number crunchers in gov’t funding agencies (and calling PhD students cheap whores does not help btw…besides, some whores can be very expensive Posted Image)

Everywhere, it is half a position. I understand that the postdocs should get more. I totally do understand that. They have more experience, they are responsible for more students and technicians. It is different. However, a PhD does not make half a postdoc.



In the future, esp if you want to continue in academia, you would do a postdoc stint so do you think it would be fair to receive a salary with only a 25% difference from a PhD student’s? You’d be older, with more responsibilities – probably mortgage, kids, pension etc If your salary had only increased 25%, would you then call this moving forward in your career?

We all deserve recognition. It is indeed a training. However, we are also qualified people, doing qualified work. Compare our salaries with the average salaries of people having a MSc degree. Hell. Compare our salaries with a technician salary. And here you get technician by finishing highschool + 2 years of training for becoming a technician.



I understand your frustrations but if you continue comparing yourselves to other people, then you will become indeed very bitter. Perhaps if you think that no matter how “qualified” or “good” you are, you are after all only a student while the others are already “real” workers, members of good labour unions and have lots more work experience than you do. And nope, you can’t disrespect technicians bec many of them do a good job keeping the labs functional and in order. Most PhD students (as I've heard from many technicians) just do experiments or stay hours in front of the computer (for literature search, writing, of course Posted Image). Besides, it’s not their fault that they get better paid than you. And when you finally get real employment later on, you'd probably enjoy the same benefits and working conditions, actually, with a PhD degree, it should be better...you can climb to higher positions with commensurate salaries and benefits. And hopefully after 6 months, you would have the same motivation as you did on that first day when you start working on yet another bench or behind a desk.

To sum it up: we should stop being cheap whores who tell everybody that we enjoy our work and that we are happy to do it for no money. We are highly educated people who deserve a future ensured by having enough postdoc positions opened. And, mostly, we deserve to be respected for what we do. Because no matter what you think about your own research (it might be depressing sometimes not to get results for months): we are the pillars of scientific advancement. Who else if not us?


First of all, it seems that there's only you (like the full weight of the the entire science world on your shoulders) and you almost ignore or discount all the contributions of the other lab personnel esp the postdocs and that is very unfair imo. Besides, isn’t what you’re doing now kinda contradicts your goals or what you hope to achieve for all PhD students in Germany? Working 16 hr days without anybody forcing you to do it? It means you like what you’re doing and you do it for yourself. Like I said in my previous post- break the cycle of self-exploitation. Why don’t you start in your lab? Convince everybody that if you want to be paid like workers (and not as students), then work as regular workers- from 9 to 5. Isn’t what you’re doing something akin to agreeing (with your boss) to do a job for so and so payment and then you decide yourself (for whatever motivation you have) to do more job hence doubling the work time and now you’re demanding from your boss to pay you double? Almost like extortion Posted Image And this would not pan out in real life. You can’t take your boss to the labour commission for this. Whatever you’re doing now is for yourself and your future and how can it be a better future if you will only get 25% more than your previous salary if you get the salary increase you’re fighting for.?

Although I may agree that cutting down on the supply (of PhD students) might help in long run, but how do you propose to do the culling and to “control the market"? Only the bestest and smartest should get in? Who’s gonna be the judge of this? I am not so convinced of this elitistic attitude (after all your post above about fighting for equal rights etc etc etc). If the student passes the qualifying, then they have the potential to succeed. And there would be enough hurdles along the way to weed the bad ones out. Most regular labs will not have a lot of openings anyways and with so many applicants, they can afford to choose. And as I have posted before, asking for almost an equal pay with the postdocs might backfire bec PIs might just forget about the students and just hire more qualified postdocs. Just for discussion sakes, if or most probably, when you become a PI- a new one eh and you have one of these excellent, highly motivated PhD students who after one year asks you to double her salary, would you do it? If you get a grant for 40,000 euros and you'd pay almost equally a PhD or a postdoc, who will you hire? Do you have PIs supporting your movement?

Edited by casandra, 10 October 2012 - 03:38 PM.

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#24 ascacioc

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 05:36 PM

Yes we do have PIs supporting this. And a government supporting this, as I stated above....you know the people with the law and the money. And, yes, I would do this with the postdocs. I would apply for grants for 1 postdoc, 1 PhD. And I will not give more than 10 PhD titles in my career. And I would be perfectly happy to get only a 25% increase from my previous salary since the money would be the same as in the present situation. But I would have received more money now, which I would have put in a bank (since anyhow I do not need it:P) and I would have gotten more interest.

I see your point of my (our) ideas would make the PhDs elitist. But is that bad? I mean: what is the point of giving out PhDs in explosion mode when these people cannot find a job afterwards because there are not enough postdoc positions? Or enough leadership positions in industry (anything else, a person with a PhD is overqualified for)

And I do not agree with this attitude of sitting down and accepting the system. Also, I talked to a lot of people, aka PIs that said that the fact that we tell people that we enjoy our job makes us (all the scientists) to be underpaid while we are on the top of level of education. And FYI, I come from a bit of a weird background: my father has not even a high school diploma (he bought one of those), but he has money and when I told him that I want to study he was ok with the bachelor but from the master onwards he was unsupportive because he said and I quote: So you want to enter academia? Hmmm, so you don't want nice things and a chauffeur like me? And, is this fair? Is it ok that people with no will to study out of laziness are on the top of society and people with a PhD are struggling to get a job? And then we wonder that we have to find better and better incentives for children to study. Why should they? Why do we encourage them towards ruining their lives? Isn't it better to let them play, enjoy themselves because anyhow there would be more than enough people to want to do science on a meager pay.

Don't get me wrong. I do not say that we are the smartest. I do not look down on people without a PhD title (I actually look up saying: look, smart guy that knows what life is about: at my age people here have already a house, 2 cars and 2 kids; what do I have?: no money; I rent instead of having a house; no car because honestly here you cannot afford a car as a PhD student; not the car but the fuel) I think that I am where I am not because I was blessed with something like intelligence, but I got a strong will and I work until I literally drop down. I have a saying: If I can stand/not fall from the chair, then I can pipette. Given the fact that I believe that everything is achievable with hard work, how I see it is that people who did not achieve getting a PhD level are not working hard enough. Since they are not working more, they should not receive more money. q.e.d.

#25 ascacioc

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 05:38 PM

And with supporting the system by working 16 h a day: well if I don't work as much as this, I do not get a good grade in my PhD thesis. Period. No discussion. So it is kind of expected that we work that much if we want the title with an ok grade. I do not think that the PIs would have a problem to give us all the worst grade if we stop working hard.

#26 casandra

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:07 PM

Yes we do have PIs supporting this. And a government supporting this, as I stated above....you know the people with the law and the money. And, yes, I would do this with the postdocs. I would apply for grants for 1 postdoc, 1 PhD. And I will not give more than 10 PhD titles in my career. And I would be perfectly happy to get only a 25% increase from my previous salary since the money would be the same as in the present situation. But I would have received more money now, which I would have put in a bank (since anyhow I do not need it:P) and I would have gotten more interest.


ok, if you include the postdocs, then perhaps you can have a lot more sympathy bec they had already worked their asses off plus they are actually the ones who are 'highly educated' (the PhD students- only after they have gotten the degree, not before or even during) and if they want to land a job in academia, then they have all the motivation to work even harder because like we all know, with so few jobs and so many applying, they need to be 'better'. Actually, if you keep repeating that it's only you, the students who keep the lab going, it can be very off-putting. You may need the support of others even the regular employees bec it would be the same, they would look on you as only students and why should you receive almost as much as they do. Also, not many students have your lifestyle of saving now or living very simply...once they have the money, why shldn't they get a better place, buy tech gadgets, travel etc. Later on when you have other responsibilities or expenses, you're gonna need more and money is never enough.

I see your point of my (our) ideas would make the PhDs elitist. But is that bad? I mean: what is the point of giving out PhDs in explosion mode when these people cannot find a job afterwards because there are not enough postdoc positions? Or enough leadership positions in industry (anything else, a person with a PhD is overqualified for)


Well, if as you said that you need 16 hours a day to get an ok grade on your thesis, I suppose it would be the same for everyone? So how many people can't do this? If many students are graduating with the degree and an ok grade for their thesis, then it means people who really want to do this and have the qualifications shld be given a chance. And this 'selection' process can be open for all kinds of abuses or manipulations and esp if only in the hands of few people. Or it's also possible that you'd end up with producing only a certain 'breed', only those who'd fill up a certain mould...this almost sounds scary Posted Image. But really, honestly, 16 hours a day, when do you sleep or have a life? And yet many are still applying, presumably, they have the qualifications and the will and yet your plan is to trim down the number of PhD students just so to have postdoc jobs? But if you get the salary increase that you're asking for and the PhD student gets the 75%, wouldn't this be an additional incentive for a masteral student to continue on to a PhD?

And I do not agree with this attitude of sitting down and accepting the system. Also, I talked to a lot of people, aka PIs that said that the fact that we tell people that we enjoy our job makes us (all the scientists) to be underpaid while we are on the top of level of education. And FYI, I come from a bit of a weird background: my father has not even a high school diploma (he bought one of those), but he has money and when I told him that I want to study he was ok with the bachelor but from the master onwards he was unsupportive because he said and I quote: So you want to enter academia? Hmmm, so you don't want nice things and a chauffeur like me? And, is this fair? Is it ok that people with no will to study out of laziness are on the top of society and people with a PhD are struggling to get a job? And then we wonder that we have to find better and better incentives for children to study. Why should they? Why do we encourage them towards ruining their lives? Isn't it better to let them play, enjoy themselves because anyhow there would be more than enough people to want to do science on a meager pay.


But isn't this self-evident- that there's no money to be had in the academe bec it is not a financial business, it's not for profit so how else can we look at it? How would you change the focus then? You need changes in gov't policies, you need to inform the public that what we do is impt and has meaning or is useful but if what all the public usually sees are either stuck-up smarty pants with fancy degrees doing their fancy talk or nerdy anti-socials who don't even talk, then it will not help the cause. Posted Image


Don't get me wrong. I do not say that we are the smartest. I do not look down on people without a PhD title (I actually look up saying: look, smart guy that knows what life is about: at my age people here have already a house, 2 cars and 2 kids; what do I have?: no money; I rent instead of having a house; no car because honestly here you cannot afford a car as a PhD student; not the car but the fuel) I think that I am where I am not because I was blessed with something like intelligence, but I got a strong will and I work until I literally drop down. I have a saying: If I can stand/not fall from the chair, then I can pipette. Given the fact that I believe that everything is achievable with hard work, how I see it is that people who did not achieve getting a PhD level are not working hard enough. Since they are not working more, they should not receive more money. q.e.d.


Pipette till you drop? But you are almost obsessed with work and many people don't see work and do work as you do and you can't based your judgment of other people's work only on yours. Actually, one research associate here used to tell us that if we need to stay more than 12 hours in the lab (unless doing time course or these very long organelle isolation protocol) then perhaps we are not efficient enough or can't manage time well enough..so that's how some people will look at working very long hours and in the end not even a paper in Nature (or no Nobel prize for the old coots)..Posted Image


And with supporting the system by working 16 h a day: well if I don't work as much as this, I do not get a good grade in my PhD thesis. Period. No discussion. So it is kind of expected that we work that much if we want the title with an ok grade. I do not think that the PIs would have a problem to give us all the worst grade if we stop working hard.



Well, perhaps this could be the first thing that you have to try to get rid off..how could they expect you to work 16 hrs a day, 6 or 7 days a week for 11 or 12 months for 3 to 4 years? You can cite the abolition of slavery in the early 18th century.This is probably more achievable than asking for more money. Bec money is always the bottomline.

Edited by casandra, 10 October 2012 - 07:20 PM.

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#27 Trof

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 03:07 AM

So I discussed the salaries on one czech forum, with scientists of various fields, not only biology labs.

There was this suprising finding that in some the ratio of PhD student: postdoc can be as high as 1:4. The reason is foreign postdocs get substantially more money because it this need of some artificial "internationality" of a lab. So foreign postdoc, to be lured to the lab is offered much more than a czech postdoc would be, and doesn't matter what country he is from (honestly, it's mosty eastern-asia countries, who would want to go to a ordinary CZ lab just like that..) and it's a source of some grudge among the czech postdocs. For some reason even that often the quality of such people isn't very good, they keep them there as some magic incantation of being "world famous".

Also other said that sometimes as a postdoc you get slightly less than PhD student, since you have the same money, but you have to tax them.

There was also one very common thing mentioned, even I know about it from when I was looking for PhD. Most (mostly) mediocre labs doesn't offer any contract for a PhD student, so all he gets is the scholarship around 280 EUR/month nett. As a postdocs then they get average pay in CZ (because they have to by some salary tables) say 720 EUR/month nett, so the increase is marked.

I as well remember when looking for PhD how I got advises to look for labs that offer contracts in addition to a scholarship, meaning it's not commonplace. In some science areas like arts of other philosofical studies, its even extremely rare to get anything more than a scholarship, but their studies are mostly not related to a job they would do (for example, psychologist would do some kind of support somewhere but do PhD about addictions or something, that's not not inherent part of his job, in contrast I work on some topic for the lab and make dissertation from the exact same topics, I do real work not just something for my degree).

Then I got numbers from someone working in US:
PhD student $1800 nett, postdoc starts at 2800 more or less depending on university.

Hope that apart from the situation in my country you never wanted to know about, it's at least useful for something ;)

Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#28 Trof

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 03:37 AM

And about the disscussion.. I generaly don't care about comparison of salaries, I only care about mine. In that respect that I should get enough to secure living, eating (not discount food, freedom to just go to a shop and freely choose a quality product), some transportation and money for hobbies and free time. When I got all this and wouldn't need to worry about other things (which is on the other hand not very probable since in these days the retirement saving should be secured too and in future maybe even education for kids and helthcare) I don't actually need more.

But truth also is that the american model (i.e. making PhD students low-paid slaves that have to work until they fell off and if they survive, then get a tenured position and comfortable life and money) I don't find very fair. People should be paid what they deserve, not what they come to deserve after 10 years or so. Because some may not survive along the way to the top. But that's probably a point of view, as far as I know (which is not very far) this is kind of inherent feature of whole american way of life.
Also in my opinion this - living on the financial edge but this not being actually biggest problem since you don't have time for spending the money anyway - is just a clear expoitaition, it produces constantly tired, frustrated people, who can be psychologicaly damaged for the rest of their lives (just look at some PIs..). It's just not healthy. Many of these people later burn out, have to spend fortunes on psychological help (especially in US) and for what, that someone just made this setting?
I know it's similar for programmers in IT, not only in US I heard that's a german-based companies case also, they hire them young, full of energy and make them work untill they fall off. Then the person is used up, not productive any more and get rid of him. Those who survive start managing the younger blood the same exploit way as those before.
And you wonder about the epidemic of mental ilnesses in modern world.

I know myself that the drive for "the new" that could be found, for the teories that can be tried is huge. But I would definitelly refuse is somebody was forcing me to stay long hours as is the US model. I have a 40 hours/week contract and if they were about to force me to do more, I would refuse. Reality is I often spend there 65-75 hours, but that is my decision and when I'm come back exhaused I just can accuse myself and then just decide to take some time off or sleep long next day and come at 11 (since our boss knows our overtimes he doesn't have problems with this, which is only good, because the first moment someone would bitch about 5 minute late arrival or something in a 65 hour week I would just start leaving after 8 hours instantly and look for another place). Being under constant pressure of working overtime is mind-devouring (however unfortunatelly it happens sometimes, when you're already exhaused and some deadline jumps in). I have constant problems in having enough rest from work though, even though in my special condition it's really desirable. It's just so exciting Posted Image But it can only stay so untill I'm just not fed up with it, then the motivation falls down like a stone and that's not good for anyone.

And about the theory that 8 hours should be enough for everyone.. well that may be true for those with fixed workload, and not for workoholics Posted Image You may finish your task in teh afternoon, but instead of going hope you just start another task, because you're just eager to know the answer NOW. So not all long-timers are just inefficient. They're just too drived to get further and further, to finish earlier. Well in theory finishing earlier would mean more time at the end, but you know how it is, there is always something elso to be done, till the end of the world.. Posted Image

Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#29 casandra

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 05:52 AM

But truth also is that the american model (i.e. making PhD students low-paid slaves that have to work until they fell off and if they survive, then get a tenured position and comfortable life and money) I don't find very fair. People should be paid what they deserve, not what they come to deserve after 10 years or so. Because some may not survive along the way to the top. But that's probably a point of view, as far as I know (which is not very far) this is kind of inherent feature of whole american way of life.
Also in my opinion this - living on the financial edge but this not being actually biggest problem since you don't have time for spending the money anyway - is just a clear expoitaition, it produces constantly tired, frustrated people, who can be psychologicaly damaged for the rest of their lives (just look at some PIs..). It's just not healthy. Many of these people later burn out, have to spend fortunes on psychological help (especially in US) and for what, that someone just made this setting?
I know it's similar for programmers in IT, not only in US I heard that's a german-based companies case also, they hire them young, full of energy and make them work untill they fall off. Then the person is used up, not productive any more and get rid of him. Those who survive start managing the younger blood the same exploit way as those before.
And you wonder about the epidemic of mental ilnesses in modern world.

I know myself that the drive for "the new" that could be found, for the teories that can be tried is huge. But I would definitelly refuse is somebody was forcing me to stay long hours as is the US model. I have a 40 hours/week contract and if they were about to force me to do more, I would refuse. Reality is I often spend there 65-75 hours, but that is my decision and when I'm come back exhaused I just can accuse myself and then just decide to take some time off or sleep long next day and come at 11 (since our boss knows our overtimes he doesn't have problems with this, which is only good, because the first moment someone would bitch about 5 minute late arrival or something in a 65 hour week I would just start leaving after 8 hours instantly and look for another place). Being under constant pressure of working overtime is mind-devouring (however unfortunatelly it happens sometimes, when you're already exhaused and some deadline jumps in). I have constant problems in having enough rest from work though, even though in my special condition it's really desirable. It's just so exciting Posted Image But it can only stay so untill I'm just not fed up with it, then the motivation falls down like a stone and that's not good for anyone.

And about the theory that 8 hours should be enough for everyone.. well that may be true for those with fixed workload, and not for workoholics Posted Image You may finish your task in teh afternoon, but instead of going hope you just start another task, because you're just eager to know the answer NOW. So not all long-timers are just inefficient. They're just too drived to get further and further, to finish earlier. Well in theory finishing earlier would mean more time at the end, but you know how it is, there is always something elso to be done, till the end of the world.. Posted Image


Yup, there is always something to be done but many of them can wait for the following days (they are not a matter of life and death) if you had already put in a lot of work that day Posted Image. Besides, your efficiency can go down as the day progresses. You need the rest to recuperate or at least to do something else in order to have a more balanced lifestyle. We also have to consider safety issues bec in many institutions, officially, students should not be left alone or unsupervised esp late at night (or even the during weekends) because anything can happen and the PI or the university will be held accountable.

And is the 70 to 80 hr a week workload only happening in the US? Andreea says that that is how it is in Max Planck and that is expected so one can have an ok grade for the thesis. And now that you are young and single and with few responsibilities (personal), this heavy workload or very long working day is ok but you would appreciate the shorter hours or at least a more flexible schedule once you decide to have a family, a house and kids or later on if you have to take care of ageing or sick parents etc. It's unfair, I know but usually the women get more pressure than guys. Luckily, it's improving the work environment for women but in most instances, it's also the women themselves who decide that they will spend more time with family and the raising of kids than the partners, hence the need for a more realistic working schedule in the lab.

Edited by casandra, 13 October 2012 - 12:20 PM.

"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......




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