Peer pressure

It’s no secret that part of the reason I was recruited is because funding is extra tight these days and an industry connection can only help (unless that industry connection is Bernie Madoff).  I’ve secured one small local grant from a nonprofit, but more importantly, a rather sizable (not R01, but pretty nice) chunk from my old employer (I’ll talk about this later).

There wasn’t any direct pressure on me before securing this money: the other faculty and higher-ups didn’t ever mention it, but they always dropped semi-subtle hints.  Now that I have the money coming in they’re asking all sorts of questions about institute and student sponsorship.  This is on top of other faculty members (my pseudopeers) pitching this or that idea to me hoping I’ll come on board and relay them to my old employer.

My concern in all of this is that if I don’t deliver the money as a co-PI for some other faculty members they’ll lost respect for me.  My pedigree already isn’t that of my surrounding colleagues and I’m certain some of them are thinking I was only brought in because I did reasonably well in industry.  So if I don’t deliver on the flood of cash for everyone, then maybe they will care for me even less (there’s some upspeak in that sentence as I read it to myself)?  I don’t really give a shit, because if I constantly cared what people thought then I wouldn’t have time to be so awesome.

I kind of wish it would’ve been more difficult to get this first round of industry funding so I could just say “Look, I barely got it, and they know me.  So don’t get your hopes up.”


My background

My name is Phindustry, I used to be a spy (I loooooooved Burn Notice).

Well, actually I was someone with the mind of an academic that accepted an industry position. I never ever wanted to go into academia when I was in grad school. I hated the grants, papers, mentoring, etc. But as I got into my third year I realized I have a lot of fun in doing that stuff. But I had tuned everything I did to get into industry. So I decided to go into industry to get practical experience prior to getting back into the ivory tower.

I was undercover; learning everything I could about industry’s culture. I moved up pretty quickly, eventually controlling my own group. But as soon as I realized I was too deep: focusing only on the bottom line, not really putting as much effort into mentorship, etc. I knew I had to leave and make my way back to academia. A couple years ago I started applying and here I am in my cushy office with grad students knocking at my door and the semester about to start. My previous blog about some of my thoughts about industry can be found here (

Bottom line: until I get tenure…I’m not going anywhere.

(If you don’t get the Burn Notice references, sorry. It’s not as good as some other shows I like, but the spy thing seemed to work for this post…)