Loyalty versus "self-preservation instinct"

Blanka Sengerová (23 November 2012)

It is now about 5 months till the end of my contract. At some point soon I ought to hear about funding for my boss, which has me (and some others) on it as named researchers. From what I've read on this blog, I am by no means the only person in such a situation.

It does bring up a bit of a quandary to those in a similar position. On the one hand, you do sort of feel some form of loyalty towards your PI (assuming you have a good working relationship with them, which I am sure the majority of research staff do) in terms of wanting to stay on and continue with your work if the money is available. On the other hand, you have to look out for yourself and ideally have a job to go to even if the funding for a continuation of your current position does not materialise.

In this time of lack of jobs and many people being out of work, the lead up time to looking for a job may be longer than in times when plenty of jobs are available so the time when you start to concentrate on your job search above your current project may need to be sooner rather than later.

Have any of you on here experienced such a situation and care to share any insights on this issue?


Sandrine Berges

It seems to me that an individual researcher has more to lose than a group.

My colleagues and I are all on yearly renewable contracts. If we accept  a new job anytime after may, we leave the department high and dry, as they won't have time to get a replacement. Some of my colleagues have done that, and as a result, we all had to work a bit harder the following year (though mostly just teaching more students, which only affects our research in so far as it takes up more time and energy, but doesn't affect our individual projects). On the other hand, several of my colleagues have refrained from applying elsewhere out of loyalty, and for some of them it ended very badly - i.e. when the university needed to make cuts, they were left high and dry. It seems to me that an individual researcher has more to lose than a group.