Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Temporary New Job

I have been at my new job for 3 weeks now and I really like it. Most of all, I like my new boss. She is a superb and brilliant scientist. Her CV is amazing; she has pages and pages of publications. She is very quick at finding errors in data analysis. At a recent lab meeting, one of the post-docs (not me) passed out copies of some graphs that he had made from his data sets and within seconds of looking at the graphs, she found something very wrong with them. It took me 2 minutes to figure out what she was talking about and only then could I see that there was something wrong. But, I might not have noticed it if she hadn’t said anything. She is also a very nice and fun person. In the short time that I have been in her lab, she has already hosted 2 parties at her home, with a lot of food and drinks. In short, I think she is an amazing scientist and a wonderful person. And I feel like I am going to disappoint or betray her.

Just to recap, when I accepted this position, I thought it would be a post-doc position with benefits. But it turned out that graduates with my degree cannot do post-docs at this university. So, the position was turned into a temporary OPS position with no benefits. Since, this position involves a lot of traveling and OPS employees have to be paid for time spent in travel, I thought that she would decide that I wasn’t going to be a good fit for the position after all. Well obviously, she did still want me (we worked something out regarding travel time) and I am now in the position.

If I had been able to do the position as a post-doc with benefits, I would have had to sign a contract, which in this particular case would have ended in August 2011. Instead I signed a letter stating that I accepted the OPS research associate position. She put in the letter that she considered this to be a post-doc position and that she would treat it as such. She also put the end date with a statement that she expected to renew the position with me after August 2011. Since then, she has said to me several times that she expects to renew the position and keep me for another year.

I haven’t applied for any positions since I started in this position, but I have several applications out there that I have been waiting on. This last Friday, I heard from the one position that I want the most. I have a phone interview with them this coming Friday. This is a position that I have trained for. It pays well and has benefits. The phone interview is the last step in the process. There will not be a face-to-face interview.

I have never let on to my new boss that I have other applications out there. I never told her that because of the change from post-doc with benefits to OPS with no benefits, that even though I was accepting this position for now, that I would continue to look for a career position with benefits. When she says to me that she expects to renew this position after August and keep me for another year, I just smile.

Now I am wondering about things and doubting whether I have made the right choices. I don’t want for her to feel that I have misled her, but I think I have. I think I should have let her know before signing the letter that I had other applications out there for positions that pay well and have benefits? But that time is passed and I can’t go back and re-do it. So what to do now? Should I tell her now that I have other applications in progress? Should I tell her that I have a phone interview on Friday? Or should I just not say anything until I receive an offer?

I could sure use some advice. What do you think I should do?


makita said...

Easy-peasy, this one.

You keep your mouth shut until you've received an offer, accepted, found a place to stay, and arranged for your move.

Your current job is by definition temporary. It sounds like your boss has a lot of experience, so this situation will not come without precedent.

There is absolutely no need to have any qualms about leaving whenever you darn well please.

You boss should be aware that your current job is no competition for a permanent one with benefits.

Joyce said...

Thank you Makita!

Sometimes I get so bogged down in the details of stuff that I lose my perspective.

It is definitely the norm to not say anything to a boss about upcoming job interviews and possibilities until everything is arranged to go. Two weeks notice is all that is necessary for a job like mine.

Thank you for helping me to see the situation more clearly.

Jodi said...

I agree they aren't paying you enough to own you. I think it shows good character and loyalty that you are concerned however. When you do get a different job you can explain how your initial enthusiasm for the post doc was based on a job that included benefits. You need insurance no one can feel betrayed for you leaving for that.

makita said...

How did the phone interview go?

Joyce said...

Hi Jodi, thank you for saying that I have good character; I definitely like that! You're right, my new boss doesn't own me. As for the benefits, before I started working there, she asked one of her very young post docs how much he spends on health insurance every month, and he said $90. So she is giving me an extra $90 a month to buy my own insurance. It isn't possible for someone that is 35+ to buy health insurance for only $90 a month. I suspect she knew that.

Joyce said...

Hi Makita, I think it went okay, but I was so stressed out on Friday, that I know I didn't do my best. I would like to do a blog post on the interview and why I was so stressed out. But tonight, I am packing. I am leaving on a business trip early in the morning.