Thursday, June 19, 2014

PSA: Don't Work For Free

I just wanted to throw it out there, in case anyone was tempted to:

Don't Work For Free!

I know that it's tempting to consider "getting some experience", "building your network" and the like, but reputable chemical and pharmaceutical employers pay* for services. If you're an entry-level scientist and a potential employer says "You know, we would be happy to have you on as a volunteer and we would hire you on later...", DON'T DO IT. If they say "You know, we're a startup and we can't pay you, blah, blah, blah", DON'T DO IT.

I figure that unscrupulous employers like this are relatively rare (less than 1% of all potential employers of chemists, I'm guessing.) But in case you run into one, now you know:

Don't Work For Free!

Obviously, we could have a rollicking conversation about unpaid internships (and their legality), summer studentships, volunteering and the like. But this PSA is aimed mostly at younger people who are looking for full-time positions and are getting desperate. 

*They may not pay much, but they do pay wages. 

20 comments:

  1. Did that once. Once. (over 40 years ago)

    I did a lot of work on the design for a computer-aided analytical lab and never saw a dime (although I discovered later that the software "company"' owner did get paid for the work.

    Years later, the same guy approached me, looking for work. I wasn't very nice to him.

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  2. I think you have probably seen this e-mail exchange, but re-reading it does brighten the day a bit:

    http://www.27bslash6.com/p2p2.html

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    1. Oh, yes. I like this one from that author as well: http://www.27bslash6.com/missy.html

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  3. For those who need a chart: http://shouldiworkforfree.com/

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  4. i think my brother actually paid to intern one summer. things have not gone particularly well for him since then, either

    he is now an underemployed law graduate with triple digit debt

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  5. whats a triple digit debt, like $999?

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    1. @10:53 whoops. meant 100k. somehow my brain translated that to three digits (and a letter)

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  6. After investing truckloads of money, energy, and your entire youth in (higher) education, employers act graduates should be glad to get the "opportunity" to volunteer for them. Because hey, you only get this chance once in a lifetime. Of course, the paying jobs are all outsourced. If you any self-respect, don't volunteer and don't take on an unpaid internship. Don't help perpetuate these rackets. Better to invest your time in an entrepreneurial stint, even if it ultimately fails.

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  7. I worked for free once. I thought, "It's no big deal, I can handle it." Then I worked for free every weekend. Then I found myself working for free in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day. I couldn't stop. Now, I work for free full time under the overpass. And I live in a van down by the river.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I think you should stop complaining and be grateful that as an adjunct you have the resources to do research.

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    2. Completely agree. Now you are seeing how dysfunctional academic science has become. Again, its a two tiered system: the ones doing experiments are poorly paid, the ones that "administer" to those doing the work are well paid. Im a 50 yr old research associate but am extremely grateful that my boss (who makes $250,000/yr) works at least a 38 hr week as is very smart (he does have an MD and clinical responsibilities so that is part of the reason for the good pay).

      My advice to anybody: if you leave academic science, do not ever return on soft money. You will be exploited to the fullest.

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    3. Shut up and stop complaining that your bench is wet or we'll put you in the back of the boat. Row harder!

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  9. I would tutor Ke$ha and Katy Perry in general chemistry for free. I'd even supply the wine coolers.

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    1. Bring the MoviesJune 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Sounds good. Make sure you use wine coolers for Ke$ha, and then she is likely to wind up waking up the next morning in your bath tub.

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  10. Hey, Chemjobber, what prompted you to just "throw it out there, in case anyone was tempted to"?

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    1. i think it was this tread on reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/chemistry/comments/28fd53/should_i_take_a_job_without_pay_for_the/

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  11. I did an internship once. Working illegal hours for no pay... oh wait, isn't there a word for that?

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  12. I can't believe I once got sucked into doing an interview for a free internship with over 10 years experience. I went there on a cold snowy December day and I spoke to the CEO for over 1 and a half hours. At the end, he told me they had no money and would I consider working there for free. I said goodbye. I couldn't believe I didn't see it before going in.

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