Ten commandments for newly minted assist. prof.

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Ten commandments for newly minted assist. prof.

Postby relaxin » Aug 04 2011 9:32 am

1. Thou shalt obey your chairperson, even when thou think he/she is unreasonable.
For he/she is your lord, who decides on your tenure.

2. Thou shalt join the departmental lunch-bunchers.
Eating your microwaved lunch while working in your office may save time, but you will be labeled as a "loner".

3. Thou shalt focus thy research on human diseases.
Working on a pig gene may be interesting to you, but a human gene that is related to a disease can get your project funded.

4. Thou shalt publish or perish.
For tenure decision, the number of publications is counted most.

5. Thou shalt observe the Sabbath.
Do not count on the 7th year, your tenure is decided at the end of your 6th year.

6. Thou shalt collaborate with friends in research.
You should find researchers who have the techniques you need for collaboration, rather than learning the technique yourself. Offer authorship in return. This will speed up your publications.

7. Thou shalt not be member of too many committees.
At the end, only the number of pubilications plays an important role on your tenure decision.

8. Thou shalt not be too friendly with your students and postdocs.
Granted, you may be 5 years older than your students and postdocs. You have to set your authority, or you will be stepped over.

9. Thou shalt not play favoritism to your subordinates.
This will create conflict among your subordinates. Stick to the rule that rewards students with good work.

10. Thou shalt not pressure your students for good results and scold them for bad ones.
This may force them to fabricate data or hide their failure.
Not affiliated with any company. Mention of a specifc product does not imply my endorsement of the product. No conflict of interest or guarantee to work on the advice given. Do as I say, not as I do. Not liable to the loss of your valuable samples.
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Re: Ten commandments for newly minted assist. prof.

Postby researchwoman » Sep 10 2011 9:08 pm

Those are some nice commandments. I hope there is more support/opportunities for new PIs to collaborate rather than go through the mammoth task of setting up things on their own, in a dicey filed like research which does not yield for convenience.
(And thank god for that!- something stays uncorrupted from personal gains)
However, I believe that is is not very cost-effective either, to have so much pressure on a new PI. It might be nice to have more collaboration oppurtunities, at least for the first few years, till one learns how to steer the ship. The tenure system seems a bit, well, unpractical, in this sense. It is ironical the pressures to perform, publish or perish for a profession that is supposed to be based on an 'Unbiased' and 'Objective' search for truth! and that is 'in' famous for being challenging by itself. The 'individuality' of the tenure system also assists the competitive rather than collaborative cultures that could further productivity. My PhD results were Much speeded up with collaboration with another bright grad student. We could make some real discoveries and go beyond what either of us could have individually done. It helped that we had distinct roles, me being the molecular biologist and him being a biophysicist, so we could learn and play our parts. Yet, it was enriching and more productive in my opinion than me trying to make 'big' discoveries all by myself. And quite humbling too!
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Re: Ten commandments for newly minted assist. prof.

Postby coddlecodd » Sep 13 2011 3:04 am

So no more trolling forums over a lunch sandwich for me then :P
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Re: Ten commandments for newly minted assist. prof.

Postby relaxin » Sep 13 2011 8:29 am

In one research institute I have visited, they serve tea/coffee and two cookies twice a day (there is a monthly "donation" collection for cookies). People from all labs took tea-breaks at the same time and chat about their research. I think this will facilitate exchange of ideas and encourage collaborations.
Not affiliated with any company. Mention of a specifc product does not imply my endorsement of the product. No conflict of interest or guarantee to work on the advice given. Do as I say, not as I do. Not liable to the loss of your valuable samples.
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Re: Ten commandments for newly minted assist. prof.

Postby talkingtree » Oct 31 2011 9:14 pm

Nice commandments, I like this one the best haha

relaxin wrote:
2. Thou shalt join the departmental lunch-bunchers.
Eating your microwaved lunch while working in your office may save time, but you will be labeled as a "loner".

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Re: Ten commandments for newly minted assist. prof.

Postby relaxin » Jun 20 2013 1:53 pm

Yes, looking back, I should have done things differently. Many of these were my own fatal mistakes. I hope this will help those newly minted assistant professors.
Not affiliated with any company. Mention of a specifc product does not imply my endorsement of the product. No conflict of interest or guarantee to work on the advice given. Do as I say, not as I do. Not liable to the loss of your valuable samples.
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