Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dysfunctional Research

I resigned my position as a research coordinator working with medical doctors who had to do research to keep their academic positions. I got sick of writing their articles, grants, and running their research projects on part-time hours while they got to be listed as the primary investigators. 

They were about to decrease my hours even more to only cover the hours (rather than a guaranteed minimum per week) when I actually had participants for a study. We were recruiting from a specific patient population with criteria that eliminated at least half right way. I had to be available everyday (despite the part-time status) to see if anyone meet criteria and was interested but that took time away from when I could be in front of the computer doing other work. Apparently that wasn't "productive" time. The other option was to give it a month with the current number of hours per week and if they didn't think I had recruited enough participants, push me out and hire a undergrad since they would be cheaper. By the way, I was the one who wrote the majority of the grant that funded the project. 

There was a whole host of other issues with that job, (I had a thirsty about the publishing issue before) and ultimately I had enough.  Any suggestion on my part for them to be more involved or provide more direction in the research process, blew up in my face. I was hoping to have something else lined up before I quit but I can only take so much of having my commitment and work ethic questioned.
 
-- Academic Inmate
 
 

4 comments:

  1. I remember your previous post, AI. You're well out of it, and best of luck to you. I'm sure you'll find something better, as it's hard to imagine a work situation that's much worse.

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad that I'm out of it. I already have a couple job applications submitted and an interview lined up so hopefully it doesn't take too long to find something new.

      Once I finalized everything with them in terms of keys and where the data was located, I was asked if I would be available to come back once they find someone new and show them the ropes with the study (they would pay me, of course!). I politely declined saying I wasn't sure what my availability would be. Funny, how the last conversation I had was suggesting that they come along one day to see how the recruitment worked and to help build the relationships with the medical staff who were helping us. I got yelled at for suggesting that since it was my job and not theirs. I resigned within a hour of that conversation.

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  2. Sounds like the right decision. The only downside I can think of is that it might be hard to find someone to serve as a referee/confirm the extent of your participation in the project. Maybe there's someone peripheral -- e.g. one of the medical staff you mention -- who could do that? I hope you also have a copy of the proposal itself. In short, to the extent still possible, document, document, document.

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    1. The other research support staff in the department were fully aware of how active I was in the project and how inactive the investigators were so I'm not too concern about that. As for a copy of the proposal, I don't have that. I wasn't able to keep any of the study documents. I was dealing with someone who was massively paranoid that I would delete/steal the work so I specifically requested a third party to be around when I finalized everything to give myself some protection there. Though, oddly enough, it was the same person who asked if I would come back and train the next person....if anything, I might tell them to run!

      At this point, I'm more than happy to cut my ties and get as far away as possible. I'm hopeful for the jobs that I have applied to since they are much closer to my own area of research and more in line with the type of work that I'm looking for.

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