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I am completely and totally done with the grant proposals. I have read a thousand pages of proposal, written my share of reviews, participated in an interminable conference call, and written my final summaries.

Done. Except for the shredding.

I gave up much of two weekends and many evenings to this volunteer activity, because that’s what makes the practical end of science work – peer review of manuscripts and proposals is an essential, if unthrilling, activity. I volunteered, it needed done. But at the end of the conference call, the organizer announces, “Thank you all. Everyone but Sarah needs to call my secretary and leave your SSN so that we can send you each a check for $225.”

I’m not eligible, even though I did the vast majority of work on this on my own time, not the government’s. And it didn’t bother me at all until I learned that everyone else involved got an honorarium. When everyone was a volunteer, I was fine with the whole concept of working weekends. Now I’m kind of peeved, petty though it is.

Regardless, I’m done, and we can get back to fun things around here.

The only comment on my minor blog redesign was completely positive. I guess that means people who don’t like it just quit reading.

3 Comments on “Whew!”

  1. #1 Jess
    on Sep 5th, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I like the redesign! So that’s two. :) (I noticed the recent reads bit in the sidebar and have been meaning to ask how you liked Steering the Craft.)

    It’s not petty to be peeved in this case, I think. It’s all well and good to peer review because it’s necessary and part of being in the field, but you put in a heck of a lot of work. Frankly I wouldn’t have many qualms about bringing up the lack of compensation for your efforts the next time you’re asked, or to point out that you expect something in return for your time and expertise. It’s not like you’re some grad student casting around for “opportunities”– you’re a professional, and your time and effort have value. You can’t be expected to do that kind of work for nothing.

    Yay for fun things! How’s your haunted garden tapestry coming along?

  2. #2 Phiala
    on Sep 5th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Jess, the problem isn’t anything I did or didn’t do, it’s that I am an employee of the US government, and thus not eligible to receive compensation for anything related to my job. Ya know, the getting fired or otherwise penalized parts just aren’t worth it. Peer review counts for that. Unlike what you see the higher-up government employees doing, us low-level folks actually do have to follow the ethics regulations, and that’s one of them. The reviews were for a government panel, so there was no question of them even thinking of compensating me.

    When I volunteered, I knew my time was uncompensated, and even mostly outside normal working hours given my regular workload. But I didn’t realize that everyone else was getting paid. My situation didn’t change at all – everything was just as I expected – but my perception of everyone else altered.

  3. #3 Jess
    on Sep 5th, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Gotcha. I wasn’t clear on the non-eligibility part, or that there could be penalties attached to getting paid. I wouldn’t try to suggest you do anything to get yourself fired or otherwise penalized. You’re right– that ain’t worth it.