Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jag jobbar jobbigt

JenniferSo here's my job situation. Late last year, my boss, in collaboration with a couple other professors here, wrote a grant application to the European Research Council. One of the purposes of the grant was to continue funding for my current project; the application included funding for a couple of students and a post-doc, with the understanding that I would be the post-doc. The grant was well-reviewed by the ERC, and at the beginning of December or so I was more-or-less assured of a one-year extension. But the way these grants work is that the actual funding is left up to the research councils of member states. And when VetenskaprÄdet (the Swedish equivalent of NSF) received our application, they declined to fund it. ERC proposes, VR disposes.

The "good" news is that at least we weren't alone: it sounds like every application from our quite large department was turned down. The fact that we weren't alone is also the bad news: although my boss (who recently stepped down as department chair) said she would make an appeal for emergency funds at the next faculty meeting, the new higher-ups were so mad about the fact that their projects were turned down that they were not in the mood to make exceptions, perhaps especially in her/our case.

Fortunately, as I mentioned before, my boss did have enough money to keep me employed for two additional months (although back when I wrote that, I still thought I might be back on a stipend afterwards). I had to be hired as an employee, and so there was some additional fuss to the process (all positions have to advertised in the EU, get Union approval, and so forth), made a little more difficult in my case because of course meanwhile my residency permit had expired. All that has worked out now, and so finally we will get to the funny.

Guess how much vacation time I get for a two-month contract. Go ahead, guess. At my age and job classification, I get six days off. That's right, six days. That's as much as some new hires get in a year back in the US. Other job classifications might get even more time, I'm not sure.

The other amusing thing that happened is that I started working in the first week in March, but it took a week for them to get together the paperwork, even after the job had been approved. Also, by Swedish law, I am required to have a six-week notice of job termination. Therefore, the secretary came to me with the papers to sign accepting the job on a Thursday; on the very next Wednesday, she came to me with papers announcing that my job has been terminated.

The title of the post means "I work hard."

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