July 18th, 2007

I’m out of job

I just don’t know when the ax will finally fall.


The lab I work in has been struggling for months.  Dr. Boss spoke with me in his office this morning.  Long and the short of it: the funding that pays my salary is running out and there is no guarantee of more money. 


“Do you know when we run out of money?”


“Not really.  I don’t think we’ll make it to the end of the year, but things may change.”


“I’m six months pregnant.  Should I change the date when my maternity leave begins?  If I’m get let go before then, will I be paid for all of the vacation and sick time I’ve been saving up?”


“I’d use your off-time sooner rather than later.”


Great.  I wasn’t going to go on leave until mid-September, close to my due date.  If I’m laid off (fired, sacked, whatever) could I qualify for unemployment?  What will I do next?


Looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time reading HR and State Labor policies.  Right now, I want to scream, cry and take a nap.


(For the record: I saw the handwriting on the wall last year and started to look for another job.  Sadly, many labs at this University are doing very poorly.  One PI who interviewed me said the money for my salary was “a waste.”)


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odd science, talent

Client failed IQ test

I'm working in an environmental laboratory, testing for volatile organics. So this client delivers 22 soil samples in standard 45 mL VOA vials, each as a 5 gram "plug." He wanted them preserved under a sodium bisulfate solution and held until he decides which of them need run. Not really a problem, other than the general stupidity of not having a spare sample in case anything goes wrong. However, he wants the samples frozen after preservation. Tell me, exactly what does he think will happen to any volatile analytes (vinyl chloride, 1,2 dichloroethene, trichloroethene, etc) when the sodium bisulfate solution freezes, and is then later thawed for analysis? Great way to make sure your test results come back clean, but good luck justifying them to an auditor with a brain. I need to go beat my head against a wall now.