Saturday, November 09, 2013

G.B.S.N.P. Varma on science careers in India

The second article in the two-part series is out: In India, Rising Resources, Realistic Expectations. It talks about "some of the downsides of working in India compared to the fully developed West."

[Link to Part I].


  1. Ungrateful Alive said...

    Gundiah says: "You have to learn [how to] negotiate your way around in India, which isn't very easy." Well, you have to negotiate no matter where you are, and that is not easy anywhere. The unique setting in India is that quite often, negotiation is pointless: the person with who you are negotiating (often a university functionary) may appear to be in a position to give you what you want, but is not actually so. The university functionary is generally powerless to prevail over unionized non-academic staff that can get your lab. renovated within a month but won't. Obviously he or she will not let you into that secret; you will figure it out six months later, the long way. Because few positions work "as advertised", it takes more work to figure out who is really useful to you, and minimize wasting time on the chair-warming "others". Then you need to learn the fine art of bypassing the time-wasters with people who Actually Do useful work, keeping a low profile and without pissing off the time-wasters. Office staff often consider their jobs at par with yours, so they will not budge from their PCs to speed up your work. Focus on getting more Doers into your team rather than office staff, who will just increase deadweight, shuffling around emails and papers. I took years to realize that directly interacting with vendors is much more efficient than entrusting office staff to coordinate a purchase. You end up explaining everything you need twice. Etc. etc. Entire books can be written on academic survival strategies in India.