Project Staff Associate (Current Employee) – Stony Brook, NY – June 1, 2018
The good and bad: Great benefits, although the part we pay for family medical insurance is over $150/week. Opportunities to learn anything you want abound if you have a supportive supervisor. The location is great if you're out in Suffolk County (Long Island.) Parking is far too difficult for such a big campus. The ugly: > Employees of the Research Foundation for SUNY have no union. I have worked consistently and received great reviews for a total of about 20 years, yet I have had no raise for almost 6 years. > No matter how effective you are, once your funding (grant/program/department funds) runs out, you get to the back of the line and apply for any job for which you qualify and have to hope you get re-hired. No matter how good your evaluations are (if you've even been evaluated), it won't help you get the next job. >There are many amazing people working here, but there is no will to get rid of the slackers, and there are slackers in most departments. > Although training is available, free, and of excellent quality, the university can't make anyone take it, and you have to be allowed by your supervisor to attend. Therefore, most supervisors do not get any training, yet they hold in their hands the lives of those they supervise. Frequently, very petty people get promoted to supervisor, and then their cronies get promotions and bonuses, while those who work hard without kissing up just get more work.
Research Assistant (Current Employee) – Albany, NY – April 9, 2015
This isn't a review of a typical company. As a grad student, of course there's no work/life balance (14+ hour work days much?). The stipend can barely be lived on. And of course there's no advancement. But you're working towards a PhD, so all this is to be expected. Management is great, as good as your P.I., anyway. The job's basically secure, just stay in good standing, and don't stay too long (but you'll want to leave anyway). The culture in Academia is pretty cool in some ways: lots of people who are generally laid back but really care about their area of study, and are eager to talk about it or just socialize in general--there's no real boundary between work life and social life in that regard. Of course, "publish or perish" does take its toll, and everyone is constantly in pursuit of grant money.