Thursday, May 22, 2008

The March of the PRAs

Our Lab Coordinator (LC) is going to graduate school, so the next few days/weeks will be taken up with interviewing potential replacements. We only advertised locally, and still got a pile of applicants, and are in the middle of an interviewing marathon: three days in a row, we bring an applicant in for a four-hour interview process. I'm only involved for a half-hour of each, joining another graduate student in a team interview, but it's a very all-consuming process for the lab in general.

This will be the second time I've been involved in LC interviews, and the third time I'll be involved in the early stages of training a replacement. Since I worked in this lab the summer between my junior and senior years of college, I'm the only student (graduate or otherwise) to have worked with every LC to work here. So far that's four; by my expected graduation date it will be six.

I could see this as a strong connection to the lab, a badge of honor for the length of my tenure (although not unreasonably long for a dissertation). At the moment, all I see is four to six people who have spent a year or two in a given job and have since moved on to other things, while I have stayed here with the same people and the same non-productive research projects. It roughly translates into: they've made progress in their lives, and I'm still here. Granted, I'm here with a master's degree, and I get paid more than a PRA (once you factor in full-time summer appointments, anyway), but there's a definite hint of stagnation.

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