Two Plus Two Publishing LLC Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
 

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > Other Topics > Student Life

Notices

Student Life Discussion on student issues and life, both in and out of the classroom.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-01-2009, 06:42 PM   #91
Truly Inspirational
 
poincaraux's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Lurking
Posts: 3,761
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Actually, I might have been overstating it a little. It might be more like 65-70 hr weeks instead.
poincaraux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 07:06 PM   #92
old hand
 
Black Peter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: The Pass
Posts: 1,694
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCubsGo View Post
Some very sobering points here. It's funny, none of my professors/mentors/advisors ever mentioned this to me. They just talk about getting into grad school, and I assumed that once you get in there, then you're golden. I think it would have been pretty useful for them to warn that the competition doesn't stop once you get in.
The competition just gets tougher. You're climbing the pyramid. Each step up is harder than the last with tougher competitors.

I do warn them when they come in, but most people don't listen. They "love" it, blah blah.

Quote:
Based on this, it sounds like you're saying that even PhDs from top social psych programs are not even close to having a guaranteed job in academia. You still have to absolutely bust your ass. 120 candidates for one position? F that!
It's worse than that. Just getting a job doesn't mean you'll get tenure. Publish or perish. Lots of people get blown out of the water in their first 5 years.


Quote:
This confuses me. Presumably, you have to be pretty intelligent to get into a top program. At the same time, you have to be pretty dumb to enter such a competitive field that rewards talent so poorly.
They "love" it.

Quote:
I'm pretty sure my high school psych teacher made about $50k. If entry level prof jobs only pay a little bit more than that, and you need to compete with 120 other applicants to even get the job, AND you're expected to work ~80 hours a week...yes it's nice to have status and be recognized in your field, but that still wouldn't make it worth it for most people.
Not all fields pay sucky in academia. Social Psych folks don't make much compared to other Psych areas. Human Factors academics make the most in Psychology on average, because they land tons of grant money. The competition is also very light in that field because most HF folks go into industry or govt work. So it's only 8-10 people competing for an academic position. Computer Science faculty make significantly more. IE make more. History make less. It all depends on your value.

Quote:
I feel like this issue looks so one-sided that I must be overlooking several things. There must be a lot of other benefits of being a prof that I am missing?
There are lots of bennies. It's a great job. Flexible hours. Tenure. No boss. Pension. Free health care (in some places). The pay may seem low, but it's a 9-month salary. You can pick up consulting jobs for outside money, and 3 months of pay in the summer. Furthermore, anyone in Psych who has half a brain (and grant money) can get tenure working less than 20 hrs/week if they work smart. Once you get tenure, you can work piddly hours if you want to be a loser. No one can stop you.

Quote:
Otherwise, why would so many people enter PhD programs in social psych? Do they all really think they have a realistic shot at being that 1 percenter that gets hired?
They don't think. If you ask a typical social psych grad student what they want after they graduate, most haven't thought about it. Common sense and book smarts don't always correlate.

Quote:
Maybe alternative jobs are better than you make them sound, Black Peter?
You can look around at the job offerings for social psych to see for yourself.

Quote:
Also, why does academia reward talent so poorly? I would think that the skills and time necessary to acquire a PhD in a top program would translate into ~$200k salary in other positions. You have to be one of the best to get a PhD from a top institution. One of the best, let's say, interior designers, makes a ton of money. And which is more important to society? Is it just because there is so much competition in academia, and in social psychology specifically?
People don't get PhDs for the money. It's just a different goal.
Black Peter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 08:08 PM   #93
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
furyshade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 10,139
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

on the academics being paid so poorly i think you sort of already answered your question. there are 120 people fighting for 1 position, high supply and low demand means they can pay you crap because if you don't want to take it there are 119 people who will.
furyshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 09:20 PM   #94
journeyman
 
smudgie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 260
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

A lot of why the market is so difficult right now is because of the economy. When the economy sucks and people's 403(b)s are going down the crapper, tenured folks are sticking around, rather than retiring or taking their chances in the corporate world. Tenure is looking really good right now. And a lot of universities are freezing hiring right now. So obviously this means that slots are not opening up for new folks.

The good news is that since you are just going into grad school now, you don't need to worry about the current economy so much. If luck goes your way, the economy will turn around in a few years, and things will start moving again, and there will be a lot of people hiring just as you're getting out.

As furyshade indicated, if making money is an important thing for you, then going into academia might not be the right thing. I agree with Peter, being an academic is more about the lifestyle...having smart, interesting colleagues, having the freedom to follow your own interest and curiosities, not having a boss or a lot of external deadline, tons of vacation time, flexible hours, some prestige that comes along with the title 'Professor'. It's a great life if you are self-motivated. Unfortunately, I'm not, which is why I gave it up last year to enter the corporate world...I need external deadlines or I never get anything done.
smudgie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 12:48 PM   #95
Pooh-Bah
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 4,535
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCubsGo View Post
One of the best, let's say, interior designers, makes a ton of money. And which is more important to society? Is it just because there is so much competition in academia, and in social psychology specifically?
I dont think you want people to answer that question.....

all you guys do is give fancy names to stuff thats common sense
surftheiop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 04:53 PM   #96
Pooh-Bah
 
GoCubsGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: calmer than you are
Posts: 4,447
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
As furyshade indicated, if making money is an important thing for you, then going into academia might not be the right thing.
It's not the money that is important to me. I knew when I chose psychology that I would never be rich. I could live comfortably off of like 60 or 70k. I would much rather do something I enjoy, and have the lifestyle that is mentioned above. No boss, freedom to pursue my own interests, etc.

What has me irked is finding out that the competition is so stiff and so much work is expected. It's not that I'm lazy. I don't mind putting effort into something I love. But if poincaraux's post is accurate, and I am going to have to put in 65 hours a week for my first few years, then I start to wonder if this is really the right thing. I'm willing to sacrifice a larger salary for a job I enjoy. But I don't think I could enjoy doing anything 65 hours a week.

On the other hand, BP mentions that it's possible to get tenure working only 20 hours a week. Is that just because psych is less intensive than other sciences, like the one poincaraux refers to? Before this thread, I was thinking it would take 30 or 40 hours and being a prof would be a great job.

Even if the job only requires 20 hours a week, though, that still leaves the fact that I'd have to beat out >100 other applicants. I got the feeling that that number was stable over time, but smudgie, you suggest that it is a result of the current economy. If the economy were better, would that number maybe be more around 60, or would it still be over 100? Another thing I'm wondering is, out of those 120, how many are coming from top 10 or top 15 programs? Assuming I make it into one, that would have to put me towards the top of the list, right?

Even now that I know how difficult the market is after grad school, I can't really think of any better opportunities. I picture it being difficult work and very busy, but I would get to live in a really nice place and I think I would enjoy the work for the most part. BP, you suggest that it is foolish for students to enter their programs without any real plan, just because they "love" it, because the paltry job opportunities are not worth the work you put into it. But my alternative, with just a BS Psych degree would be getting a job that requires much less work, but also has a much lower ceiling and is much less enjoyable.

I suppose most students that you see go in with that mindset. How is it flawed?
GoCubsGo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 05:03 PM   #97
Truly Inspirational
 
poincaraux's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Lurking
Posts: 3,761
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I'm on my way out the door right now, but one thing: you might want to ask people who have jobs more similar to the one you want. My time estimate was for a science position at a big research institution. That said, I know my friend who took a positions in Chemistry at a teaching-focused state school ended up working about that much for their first two years. He quit because he didn't want to spend that much time if he wasn't going to do lots of research. Black Peter's post makes me think it may be different in Psych. You might ask what size school he's at, what the teaching requirements are, how much research he does, etc., etc.
poincaraux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:10 PM   #98
old hand
 
Black Peter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: The Pass
Posts: 1,694
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCubsGo View Post
It's not the money that is important to me. I knew when I chose psychology that I would never be rich. I could live comfortably off of like 60 or 70k. I would much rather do something I enjoy, and have the lifestyle that is mentioned above. No boss, freedom to pursue my own interests, etc.

What has me irked is finding out that the competition is so stiff and so much work is expected. It's not that I'm lazy. I don't mind putting effort into something I love. But if poincaraux's post is accurate, and I am going to have to put in 65 hours a week for my first few years, then I start to wonder if this is really the right thing. I'm willing to sacrifice a larger salary for a job I enjoy. But I don't think I could enjoy doing anything 65 hours a week.

On the other hand, BP mentions that it's possible to get tenure working only 20 hours a week. Is that just because psych is less intensive than other sciences, like the one poincaraux refers to? Before this thread, I was thinking it would take 30 or 40 hours and being a prof would be a great job.
There were two other important qualifiers to my statement about 20 hrs/week. Very very few people understand what they mean and can do them. Most faculty spend 60-90 hrs/week trying to get tenure.

Quote:
Even if the job only requires 20 hours a week, though, that still leaves the fact that I'd have to beat out >100 other applicants. I got the feeling that that number was stable over time, but smudgie, you suggest that it is a result of the current economy. If the economy were better, would that number maybe be more around 60, or would it still be over 100? Another thing I'm wondering is, out of those 120, how many are coming from top 10 or top 15 programs? Assuming I make it into one, that would have to put me towards the top of the list, right?
That number has been stable over the past 5 years, so i doubt the economy had much to do with it prior to this year. However, the economy does have a lot to do with the current lack of tenure-track openings altogether, which naturally would make it even more competitive this year.

What puts you at the top of the list are high-quality pubs. The social psych folks who get tenure-track jobs at research universities have many pubs, with lots of top 5 journals (PSPB, JPSP, JESP, BJSP, EJSP) sprinkled in there. Most candidates have had a postdoc before being able to compete for a tenure-track position. So count on having to do another 2-3 years after your PhD. Unless you are insanely productive as a grad student.

On the other hand, if you just want tenure at a teaching college, and want to make $40k a year, then you're odds are better (but still not great).

Quote:
Even now that I know how difficult the market is after grad school, I can't really think of any better opportunities. I picture it being difficult work and very busy, but I would get to live in a really nice place and I think I would enjoy the work for the most part. BP, you suggest that it is foolish for students to enter their programs without any real plan, just because they "love" it, because the paltry job opportunities are not worth the work you put into it. But my alternative, with just a BS Psych degree would be getting a job that requires much less work, but also has a much lower ceiling and is much less enjoyable.
I would never advise any student to get a BA or BS in Psych unless they were going to get a grad degree. There are jobs, but they are not that great. Let's face it. Most students get a Psych degree because they are interested in Psych or are looking for an easy degree.
Black Peter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:14 PM   #99
old hand
 
Black Peter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: The Pass
Posts: 1,694
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by poincaraux View Post
I'm on my way out the door right now, but one thing: you might want to ask people who have jobs more similar to the one you want. My time estimate was for a science position at a big research institution. That said, I know my friend who took a positions in Chemistry at a teaching-focused state school ended up working about that much for their first two years. He quit because he didn't want to spend that much time if he wasn't going to do lots of research. Black Peter's post makes me think it may be different in Psych. You might ask what size school he's at, what the teaching requirements are, how much research he does, etc., etc.
I am at a large 1A research university. I teach 2+2 classes, which is standard. I usually buy out of 1-2 classes a year with my grant money, so it's really 1+1 or 1+2. I do a lot of research and publish more than 95% of my colleagues at the same level.

Look, if it's fun, then it's easy. If it's hard, then it's probably not fun. If you find graduate school to be difficult, then you're probably not having a good time and it may not be for you. I wake up every morning and thank god that i have this life and i wouldn't trade it for anything. I never get the Monday blues. I never wish i could be somewhere else. But then, i'm a freak.
Black Peter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:34 PM   #100
Truly Inspirational
 
poincaraux's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Lurking
Posts: 3,761
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Wow.

So, I'm in Biophysics instead of Psych, but still ... I'll be applying for faculty jobs sometime in the next year or so. Any tips about applying/negotiating? Any tips for the first few years, or after that? After talking to a lot of people, I'd pretty much decided not to apply to large research universities, but it sounds like you think I should reconsider. FWIW, I do computational/theoretical work, not wet-lab work.
poincaraux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 10:22 PM   #101
old hand
 
Black Peter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: The Pass
Posts: 1,694
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by poincaraux View Post
Wow.

So, I'm in Biophysics instead of Psych, but still ... I'll be applying for faculty jobs sometime in the next year or so. Any tips about applying/negotiating? Any tips for the first few years, or after that? After talking to a lot of people, I'd pretty much decided not to apply to large research universities, but it sounds like you think I should reconsider. FWIW, I do computational/theoretical work, not wet-lab work.
I am no expert in Biophysics, so you'd be best off talking with your advisor or other Biophysics faculty about this.

However, i can offer some general advice for new faculty that tends to be relevant in any field.

1) Find out what gets you tenure. Most people do all the wrong things because they don't know better. If getting tenure depends on pubs, then by all means, focus on that. Let your classes slide if necessary. On any given day, if you have to choose between research and teaching a class, this should be an easy choice as long as you don't get complaints from the students. Don't get caught up in a bunch of committees and service work. Focus on what gets you tenure.

2) Make friends with the full professors and work with them if possible. They can help you more than you know. Find a mentor right out the gate. This is crucial. Pick one that publishes a lot (if pubs are what gets you tenure).

3) Don't waste your entire first year "getting your lab set up". Get it done immediately. It doesn't take that long to set up a lab and start collecting data. The sooner you are publishing the better.

4) When the job offers start coming in, talk to people who have been there about how to negotiate. There are so many things you can get from schools if you just know about them.
Black Peter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 10:34 PM   #102
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
zoltan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Off my lawn you little punk!
Posts: 13,200
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by poincaraux View Post
Wow.

So, I'm in Biophysics instead of Psych, but still ... I'll be applying for faculty jobs sometime in the next year or so. Any tips about applying/negotiating? Any tips for the first few years, or after that? After talking to a lot of people, I'd pretty much decided not to apply to large research universities, but it sounds like you think I should reconsider. FWIW, I do computational/theoretical work, not wet-lab work.
I think it's a trade-off. I've known a number of folks who were rock stars in grad school and took 2nd-tier (more teaching-focused) faculty positions, and became frustrated at the amount of total time was required to attain tenure (between teaching, research, and service). I've also know some very good researchers who got frustrated in similar more teaching-focused positions when they wanted to focus on their research.

A reasonable approach might be to think about what is important to you: teaching or research. If the latter, a soft-money research-faculty appointment might be better than a tenure-track slot at a more teaching-focused school.

This thread is officially almost derailed.

Edit: And, given your focus, there should be plenty of government/TIGR/biotech jobs out there. The right company can often be much better than an academic job, monetarily and personally (life-work balance stuff).
zoltan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 10:51 PM   #103
old hand
 
Black Peter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: The Pass
Posts: 1,694
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Soft-money positions have their benefits, but stability is not one of them. Every year, you are responsible for getting more money. One bad year like this year and you can be gone... poof! A great example is the mass bloodshed at ASU when their budget suddenly shrunk by 25%.
Black Peter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 11:28 PM   #104
grinder
 
smk67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 595
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Peter View Post
I am no expert in Biophysics, so you'd be best off talking with your advisor or other Biophysics faculty about this.

However, i can offer some general advice for new faculty that tends to be relevant in any field.

1) Find out what gets you tenure. Most people do all the wrong things because they don't know better. If getting tenure depends on pubs, then by all means, focus on that. Let your classes slide if necessary. On any given day, if you have to choose between research and teaching a class, this should be an easy choice as long as you don't get complaints from the students. Don't get caught up in a bunch of committees and service work. Focus on what gets you tenure.

2) Make friends with the full professors and work with them if possible. They can help you more than you know. Find a mentor right out the gate. This is crucial. Pick one that publishes a lot (if pubs are what gets you tenure).

3) Don't waste your entire first year "getting your lab set up". Get it done immediately. It doesn't take that long to set up a lab and start collecting data. The sooner you are publishing the better.

4) When the job offers start coming in, talk to people who have been there about how to negotiate. There are so many things you can get from schools if you just know about them.
I will continute the derailing of this thread from PhD advice into faculty career advice.

I am not sure the above post is good advice.

1) Teaching - try to teach graduate level classes when possible and do a good job. The advantage is getting exposure with potential grad students to join your group (so do a good job to attract them) and seeing first hand who is good and who is not (you want to avoid as many duds especially when you are just getting started). Secondly, I recommend getting notes off other faculty for teaching lower level courses, many will be very grateful to give them to you. Spend most of your time preparing to give lectures because slacking on teaching will lead to complaints. You can slack on things like reusing other people's quizzes and exams, things nobody will notice or complaim much about. Overall though, you are right that pubs, but moreso getting funding is more important than publications.

2) The key is collaboration here more than mentoring. You want to be involved in your department with a few other faculty member's research. There is a lot of give and take here, mostly giving at first, but you have to play politics very carefully. You want to make absolutely certain you establish a cutting edge research program, so keep your collaborations on the fringe of your overall research goals. The game doesn't end after tenure either because there are still promotions to be had so be prepared to keep collaborating throughout your career, probably with a whole bunch of ass clowns, with personalities you may hate.

3) You should get a post doc and grad students to begin setting up the lab. Your first year will be spent writing grant proposals, largely based on the proposals you wrote that got you the job (and you have to think about this even before you get a faculty job).

4) Negotiations for faculy jobs are mostly focused on your start-up package. If you are going to do research, you need seed money to get started. You will want to negotiate the best you can to get money for the equipment you need. So you need to do your homework and make a budget for the projects you propose to do and start making these wishlsits as you are applying. I don't think you will want to spend anytime negotiating salary, its just not worth it. Assistant professor salaries are not particularly high and you will need to get tenure before seeing any significant raises. You can negotiate how much you can pay yourself out of start up for summer salary, but there really is not too much to argue about here (it does not look good to pay yourself ugo amounts of money out of funds the school gives you to start up your lab).

You missed the most important factor tenure decisions are based upon:

5) Reputation. You will give seminars, you will present at national meetings, and you will have an external advisory committee. Your faculty will take their opinions heavily into consideration when its time to decide your fate. The key for these folks is whether or not you are a world class researcher in your field and if you are on track to continueing this cutting-edge research. The main idea is this group can see through several weak publications in a scattered set of fields. They want to see high level publications in a specific field that is cutting edge and is heading towards something even bigger. I think making friends in your own department is over-rated, but making friends with your colleagues at other institutions is much more important. These advisory committees follow you as you try to make the bump from associate to full professor and can play a role in obtaining named professorships.
smk67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 11:35 PM   #105
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
furyshade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 10,139
Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

there has been a lot of talk about how many people have to compete for a given facult spot, what is the ratio of applicants to spots in a given top 10 PhD program, preferably one in engineering/sciences for my interest
furyshade is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply
      

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
Copyright 2008-2010, Two Plus Two Interactive