Just back from a job interview

Tuesday I started this thread about going to an interview for a position with another lab.

The the interview went ok. The Principle investigator asked me the usual questions about my experience and what I typically do.

She said that it was important to her research that the animals had very little stress and she wanted them treated very well. I was happy to hear this and told her that I have always treated my animals humanely and insist that those under my supervision do as well.

The PI and I went to the animal facility. I saw how they maintained their colony and what sort of identification system they used. Then the PI had me handle some of the animals. She said that there have been candidates that say they want to work with animals but get scared when actually confronted with them. I’ll have to keep this little trick in mind if I ever interview someone.

Things went south when the subject of salary came up. :frowning:
PI: How much do you make now?
Me: I make $XX,XXX.
PI: That’s a lot for someone without a degree.
Me(in my head): Actually, its the same amount of money a Professional Research Assistant would get right out of college. Your ad was for a Senior PRA with lab animal management skills. If I’m going to leave my current position, I would like to make a little more than my current salary.
PI: You know the University has a cap on how much someone in your level of education can be paid.
Me: Yes, I know I’m near that ceiling on salary, but I’m only 12 credit hours away from finishing my degree and I have five years of experience.

The PI seemed very interested in hiring me. She asked if I needed to give two weeks notice to my old PI - I said yes - and if before starting the job did I need a “break”. No, I’ve gone from one job directly to another.

The whole salary/degree discussion left a bad taste in my mouth. Right now, I think I’ll stick with the uncertainty in my present lab. If we lose our funding **Mouse_Spouse ** and I will have a looooong talk about me going back to school full-time. With an actual sheepskin, maybe I can move outside of the University and no longer have to contend with salary caps. sigh

Doesn’t sound to me like the PI was being negative on salary – au contraire, just making sure you’re clear what she can and cannot pay you. I wouldn’t be suprised if you got an offer. (Hint: They don’t usually ask when you could start if they don’t care when you could start.)

First of all, good for you for going and seeing about it. Secondly, you don’t need to make a decision about it until you hear, and there is some negotiating room. Would the pay raise be worth it for you if it hit the cap? She may have been concerned that you were unaware and would be expecting a large jump. It’s always a tough conversation when money is concerned!

Around here PI = Principal Investigator, meaning the lead one.

I will second, third and fourth this one. I finished my undergrad degree 18 years after I started it and have seen both sides of that argument. I realize I say this in complete ignorance of you situation, but finish your degree at all costs. If you are working at a University now or will be, look into any degree completion or tuition reimbursemnt plans that they may have.

Yup, I’d say they are interested. As twickster said, they wouldn’t be asking about notice and “off time” otherwise. I predict you will get an offer, and I suspect it will be at something like 1.1*XX,XXX.

Don’t fret it – at the very, very worst, no offer. At best – a good one. Or, you may have decisions to make. But not yet. Right now let them take the next step.



Very good point. Money is a sore spot in any field. It comes up a lot in research because we’re dependent on grants.

I agree with you. I’ll have to put some more thought into how much of a raise in pay is worth leaving the present lab. The usual Fear of Change kicks in.

I’m very luck that I don’t need this job. Very different for other interviews I’ve had in the past.

Yes, I’ve never been in that position and I can imagine it would be so much nicer!

I hear you on the grant thing. I’ve always been paid with hard money but have been an observer of the pay scale/individual negotiation thing.

umm–I’m surprised at the need for this “little trick”. The job opening is defined as an animal lab , right? Yet the applicants get scared when “confronted” with what they are applying to do for 8 hours a day?
What kind of animals are these?

(now, I suppose if they are vampire bats infected with aids virus I’d get scared, too. But then, I wouldn’t apply for the job, either.)

Mouse Maven–It sounds like the interview went well! Good for you; I’m glad to hear it!

Please let us know if you get a definite offer.

We actually have a lab tech who is afraid of the animals (mostly mice). He does mostly cage wash so he doesn’t have to see them, but yes it is funny. He was placed there by a temp agency and I guess won’t be progressing past cage wash.

These animals were rats. There is a lab here on campus that uses oppossums! I really, really want to see them. :smiley:

I have never interviewed someone for a job, but I have encountered lots and lots of students. There are three stages:

  1. Mice? Cute lil’ fuzzy things. Oh yeah, I can hold mice.
  2. Ah, why are we getting dressed up like surgeons? They don’t have, like, diseases do they? (For the record, you wear gowns, gloves and face masks to protect the expensive, highly inbreed, little things from diseases you have.)
  3. It won’t stay still! Its squirming!!! OMG! It peed on me!!! (By this time, I’m looking for the poor rodent on the floor.)

Some people can’t hold their rodents. :smiley:

Or they think they are prepared but “weren’t told” the job would include euthanizing the animals.

:rolleyes: I worked for an animal shelter before I moved into research. IMHO, its easier to euthanize a research animal than a pet. The research animal has served its purpose, its life and death will benefit others. The death of an unwanted pet is a tragedy that could have been avoided by responsible husbandry.

(I have been getting mail from PETA. Its pisses me off and makes me wonder how I got on their mailing list. :confused: )

It is true that it’s easier to euthanize a research animal. Nevertheless, I hated killing the mice.

And I killed lots of them.

Do you maintain/manage a mouse colony? Or does your research need a lot of tissues, etc.?

Killing anything is tough. My friends say I can be a wee bit insensitive. Grew up on a farm, worked at an animal shelter, manage mouse colonies; maybe I’ve become hardened.

I’ll still bawl like a baby when my ol’ cat Jake passes away. :frowning:

Yeah, it was fun working as an accountant and having a “What to do in the event of a bomb threat” placard posted by the phone.

I worked in the lab where they maintained the mouse colony. It was twenty-seven years ago. The mice were implanted with 1 mm x 3 mm pieces of tumor from women who had had GYN surgery to remove cancer. They were then treated with various combinations of chemo for a week or two weeks at a time, sacrificed, and the size of the tumor measured. It was a live assay for effectiveness of chemotherapy. I didn’t do the implanting (wasn’t a med student yet), but I gave them the chemo with a syringe and needle into the belly, five mice to a cage. The ones who got the bleomycin struggled like crazy after the first day’s shots and they bit if they could. That stuff musta stung like hell.

I still had a really hard time sacrificing them.

Ah, yes. I know that little thrill.

PETA menacing us because we’re “murderers.” Go picket the “pest control” place down the street!

Pro-Lifers threatening us because we use “stem cells.” *Bone marrow you morons! Will it *kill ** you to take a physiology class?

Politicians cutting funding.

Universities paying for football recuiting parties that include alcohol and hookers while taking 55% of any grant we get.

Gotta love research.

Continuing the hijack…Do you guys say “sacc’ed”? Our animal facility staff were taught to always say euthanized but that was tough when all the research lab techs went with sacc’ed. I thought “sacrificed” was an accepted term but for whatever reason our director didn’t like it.

What do you use for carcass disposal? We were considering a tissue digestor but were currently sending waste out.

Good luck with the job!

Can I add that every time I see ‘PI’, I think of Magnum?! :cool: