Monday, October 14, 2013

A chemist, affected by the shutdown

Reader UW writes in with a story on the issue; it has been redacted by CJ to preserve anonymity:
I am a staff scientist in [deleted] at [non-profit research institution (NPRI)]. The research group I work for has an interesting setup. The PI is a federal employee with an appointment at [federal agency research organization (FARO)]. This is where [their] salary comes from. We work closely with another lab in [Federal department] where the PI is a joint appointment between the [FARO and major research university (MRU)]. Between the two labs, about half of the people are employed by the federal government. They have been deemed non-essential and thus have been furloughed.

The [Federal Department research center] has been closed to us since this morning. We do have lab space at [NPRI and MRU] that is not in the federal building that we can use. Losing access to the [Federal] building has disrupted our shipping and receiving. We no longer have access to computers and software in the [Federal] building which we use on a regular basis. We cannot order off of funding and grants that are managed by [Federal Department]. This is doubly painful since we lose the government discount and because ordering over the past few weeks has beeen strictly limited due to end of the fiscal year paperwork.

In addition to these infrastructure limitations, the federally funded workers have had to attend meetings and fill out paperwork instead of doing research. Even the non-federal employees have had to take part in some of these meetings in order to ensure that the lab is kept running. The timeframes for certain experiments have been thrown off. We do a lot of work with [living subjects], which don't adhere to a government shutdown. My role as a chemist comes after the biologists have done their part of the experiment. When the biologists are furloughed, the experiment isn't ready for my part of the work. 
Ugh. Thanks to UW for writing in. Anyone else have a story? E-mail me at chemjobber -at- gmail/dot/com; confidentiality guaranteed. 

12 comments:

  1. I feel sorry for any furloughed worker, especially if the have a mortgage and moths to feed.

    However, I must say this: If the Republicans would put their money where their mouth was they would see to it to make sure the furloughed workers did not receive backpay for their time off from work, but the Republicans don't have the gut to do it. If they dont have that strength, they should have not allowed this to happen in the first place. An absurd waste of money. Just my opinion.

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  2. Stewie Griffin:
    I don't think moths require that much food so they should be fairly cheap to fee. :)

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    Replies
    1. Muphry's law strikes again! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry's_law

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    2. Stewie Griffin:
      "fee" was part of the humor.

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  3. Who will think of the pupae?

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  4. Stewie here: the "pupae" are just a bunch of damned lay-about's with no ambition except to have some cry-baby democrat support them with entitlements. Blast them all with a can of insecticide I say! *pzzzzzt* >:O

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  5. I formerly worked at a gov't lab. I remember hoarding supplies every August and September in anticipation of Congress not signing the appropriations bill on time. Work still had to be done even if you couldn't order supplies or reagents.

    If I was still there I would not be allowed in the building. Nor would I be allowed to check my gov't email from home or elsewhere. I would receive no paycheck and would not be allowed to use my vacation or sick days. I wasn't paid very well and rent was enormous, even in the subsidized housing I lucked into. Therefore I had little savings and would probably be freaking out over not being able to make my rent for this month.

    The worst part is the uncertainty. These people can't just go out and start applying for new jobs (well they can...but) because they'll have to return to their posts as soon as the shutdown ends. Many, many post docs also have that NTE (not to exceed) 2 years (or more, depending on the job) stipulation. The clock is still running on them and they'll have to produce results in their limited time, shutdown or no shutdown.

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  6. I don't know how any of these folks would be able to go back to work after this with any sort of motivation. I foresee a lot of on-the-clock clandestine job searches and games of solitaire.

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  7. sounds like the scenario at Merck...

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  8. No Hare or Hatter at this Tea Party. Even the Dormouse has stopped dispensing memorable advice.

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