About six months after starting at U of Phindustry I had enough extra cash to hire a lab tech. Those unfamiliar a lab tech manages a lot of the day-to-day (inventory, equipment maintenance, etc) and usually has their own project so maybe they get a paper or two out. I hired an amazing lab tech. She was quick to keep everyone in line, and has produced amazing results; getting two full manuscripts out in as many years. She also liked it because she’s a university employee she gets university perks like cheap tuition. So she’s finishing up her MS and she’s looking for jobs. Now those of you doing especially wet-lab research, to get a 100% dedicated researcher with accountable hours, is amazing. This person puts in at least 40 solid hours each week and they’re highly dedicated to maintain employment. This person might be walking around with a BS and just a few years of experience, but they hold a position of authority, which doesn’t sit well with the students, but they need this lab tech so they deal with it.
Now, as this superstar begins to look for jobs I am, of course, helping them however I can. But this whole time I’m legitimately worried I won’t be able to find a good replacement. If there’s one thing I learned from industry it’s that everyone is a cell on a spreadsheet and can be replaced (all the more reason not to give up your life to your company), but with my tech I’m horrified at who else is out there. I will put the job posting out there in about two months and I’ll update on the search, but finding a twenty-something with lab tech experience under their belt and a drive to get a bunch done is tough. From my past search either I can’t afford the experience, they aren’t experienced, or they’re kind of lazy with a past filled with experience but no results. I’d love her to stick around and get her PhD, but she’s certain that’s not the career path for her and I can’t blame her.