Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Does your department allow graduate students to have outside employment?

PIs, does your department have rules on outside part-time employment for your graduate students?
Explicit rule against: 40%
Implicit rule against: 15%
Up to the PI: 17%
No rule against: 28%  
242 votes
Not talking about secondments to industry, etc. I'm talking about grad students moonlighting driving pizzas, etc. 
It seems pretty reasonable to me for schools to discourage outside employment (pizza delivery at night, etc.), but perhaps I have a limited imagination. If I were a PI, someone would have screwed up -- but if I were a PI, I'd be pretty unhappy if you had a swing shift at McDonald's down the way. That said, maybe PIs don't care?

Anyone have a strong feeling one way or another? Curious if folks have stories around this. 

27 comments:

  1. Don't lots of GFs make a few extra bucks tutoring? Does that count or no?

    Dunno if this is specific to Chem Depts or all grad students at the Universities--i would imagine humanities etc likely need extra income (?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly don't think so, but there are some "outside jobs" that are okay, and probably some that aren't.

      How about being a cashier at the local liquor store. Is that okay?

      Delete
    2. Things with regular hours, multi-hour shifts, i would think not... funny, i never really took the prohibition seriously when i heard it in my grad school, since i knew the hours required. I guess some starting GFs assume they'll have as much time off as they did as undergrads and think they can pad their wallets?

      oops almost forgot a data point--wife's grad school colleague was working weekends as a bartender--think she ended up washing out of her program.

      Delete
  2. In my program, Graduate students were allowed to work a 2nd job. Most did not, but one girl, who I really admire the heck out of, worked 7am to 3:30pm in lab. Then, would go to the gym for an hour everyday. On Tues and Thurs she would go to work at Barnes and Nobel for a 2nd job. She also work Sat and Sun at the same job. She graduated in 4 years and 3 months, was a National ACS Med Chem fellow, had a NRSA F31 funded, and did this all while working a 2nd job. I keep in contact with her to this day and after a short post-doc, she took a position in industry and it didn't take long for them to see what they had, she has now moved up the company ladder and is a director for a research department. All this before the age of 40 years old. Oh, and she got her MBA while doing her Post-doc.

    Basically, if you have someone with this kind of work ethic, you would be holding them back from reaching their full potential by stopping them from doing a second job. Not everyone can handle a second job. My PhD work, I was in lab 60+ hours a week and it took my 5 years to graduate, granted I have 8 pubs and 3 patents, but that is another story. I could have worked two jobs and gotten less pubs, but I didn't want to do that, my goal was to rack up as many pubs as possible so that I could have my pick of post-docs, and it worked!!! I don't see anything wrong with a second job, as long as the students out-put does not change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Had to check with her (just texted her), she is actually 34 years old, so I should've said, "all this before the age of 35" lol

      Delete
    2. Mack09 - no offense here, but you've loaded a raft of identifying information in these comments. Are you sure this person is okay with this?

      Delete
    3. Yes, I actually emailed her the response before I posted it. She thought I was funny because I made her sound like a super woman, her words.

      Delete
    4. Fair enough, thanks for the response. She is clearly a Tier One performer.

      Delete
  3. Profs are usually allowed to consult while on the university's dime, so it seems hypocritical that students oughtn't be afforded same opportunity. That said, I've never heard of anyone doing it and it does seem to would increase your time to graduation thus being financially inefficient (to be fair, for a lot of students spending less time in the lab would likely increase real productivity)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the department that trained me, the chair of the graduate studies committee would find an opportunity to tell the first year students that students who were fully committed to their projects wouldn't have time for outside work. So tending bar (as one student did) could be looked down on, while project-related work could escape scrutiny... not that the grad students had consulting opportunities.

      Delete
  4. My grad school did not allow secondary jobs but I knew plenty of waitresses/servers/bartenders, a few clothes/dept store folk, and a handyman/Mr. Fix-it type.

    While in undergrad and grad school, I had built up a lot of connections in the fitness and supplement world through forums and such. Eventually, I was approached by a lot of companies asking for consultation of synthesis of some compounds and I even produced one very heavily used compound for awhile (prior to the requirement of GMP-production these days) on top of doing some analytical work. It certainly helped in the summertime when our stipend was significantly reduced, but not enough for me to live lavishly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That stuff is subject to the GMP's now? I thought makers of weight loss / "male enhancement" snake oil pills were allowed to do pretty much whatever they wanted!

      Delete
    2. AFAIK, everything in supplements needs to be produced under GMP guidelines, but you can formulate whatever you want and sell it as virtually whatever you want, as long as you do not claim it cures diseases.

      Delete
    3. So in other words, the natural plant extract that's guaranteed to double the size of a man's genitalia has never been evaluated for safety, but you can be certain that the QC tech used a calibrated thermometer to check the temperature of the dissolution medium!

      Delete
    4. Yes, because women are never interested in weight loss and fitness supplements.

      Delete
    5. Why do some people need to hijack every discussion into a damn social justice crusade? I was just making a point that I have no respect for phony drug companies that make magic "male enhancement" pills, magic weight loss pills, etc.

      Delete
    6. KT, I do not believe a company can claim a product will double a man's "member", hence why most claim it's simply "male enhancement" and try to be vague. My time in the industry ended not too long ago but things have still changed a bit. At the time though, Muscletech was the only supplement company that had at least one lab with 'scientists' working on products, yet a lot of their claims are pretty wild (mostly about weight gain or weight loss).

      Bonus drama: My favorite story from Muscletech was they found a new crystal form that forms at low temps (I think it was -78 C or maybe colder) of some ingredient (not a novel ingredient by the way, I forget what it was, but it could have been caffeine, glutamine, or any other commonly used ingredient) of a drink mix of some kind. They were claiming that was a huge driving force for this product. I kept refuting that it doesn't matter because once it's dissolved, it's no longer solid, therefore its new crystal form is essentially useless. They responded by trying to pressure the forum owners to give up my personal information so they can sue me.
      There was another company (Syntrax) that brought a defamation lawsuit against at least 100 members that gave mediocre to bad reviews on any of their products, of which I was one of the 100+. But they brought a lawsuit against our usernames and were trying to subpoena info for each of us. Obviously that did not amount to much and all I ever did was state that one product did not taste very good.

      Delete
    7. You seem obsessed, KT. Repeating the same "joke" re: male "enhancement" multiple times would be cause for "hostile work environment" complaints... if you were male.

      Delete
    8. This discussion isn't productive anymore.

      Delete
  5. One grad student in my undergrad lab was a waiter on weekends...he worked so many hours during the week (and did such high-quality work) that our PI didn't even know he had a 2nd job for about a year and a half. When he found out, he increased his stipend and asked him to spend the extra hours in the lab. And that guy was always cheerful, too! He was great to work with.

    ReplyDelete
  6. UIUC had an explicit rule against grad students holding outside employment. Once in a while, a kid would get caught bartending, and be forced to quit his/her side job. Champaign-Urbana is a little bubble of suburbia surrounded by cornfields, so there was a good chance of running into someone you know around town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was in the Army reserve during my tenure at UIUC with the 378th chemical company in Urbana. I let my advisor know that prior to joining his group and he had no issue. Legally, they can do nothing about it, but I am sure that some of the other faculty would not have been accepting of the arrangement. It worked out pretty well as I still graduated in a acceptable time (5.5 years).

      Delete
    2. Unknown, were you called to active duty during grad school, or was it the weekends-a-month situation? (Just curious.)

      Delete
  7. I know someone who took a business internship at Procter and Gamble while in grad school. She got kicked out of the group (there were other transgressions, but that was the tipping point). The PI was also annoyed because she started taking MBA classes before that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This kind of stuff needs to be encouraged, not punished. My biggest obstacle to getting ahead is not knowing enough about the business side of things, and I'm probably far from the only scientist here who can say that.

      Delete
  8. I wonder if this is changing more now (than when I was in college) with the gig economy.

    ReplyDelete