Monday, January 01, 2007

Applying for faculty positions in India

Phanikumar has a bunch of tips (all of which are very sensible, if you ask me) on applying for faculty positions in India. In particular, he describes a few circumstances under which it's not advisable to plunge into this enterprise. Here's one of them.

When you are on your own for money and have little or no bank balance.

Academic organizations in India do not take care of your initial establishment costs like many IT firms do. If you were a student till you started looking for a faculty position, chances are that you were staying in a hostel room and have no possessions apart from a suitcase of clothes and few trunks of books.

Take a look at the cost of starting off life: Two cots with beds (15K), DiningTable+Chairs(15K), Typical Indian Kitchen (20K), Bike(40K), TV (10K), Fridge (7K), Almera(8K), Washing machine (20K), AC (20K), Sofa (20K), Vacuum Cleaner (10K), Home PC (20K) etc., all this easily comes to about 200K. You may not need them all on the first day you land the job but once you start living at home independently, you will need them one after the other. If you are married, then you will need more things and more urgently.

The reason I mentioned the cost of establishing a comfortable home is because you could experience a financial shock if you have to pay for all that from your salary. And that is because your salary is going to be sooooooo small. Whatever people may say about pay commissions or purchase parity blah blah, after taxes and compulsory deductions you will have a maximum of 18K in hand at the end of each month as an assistant professor. If you got the arithmetic right and take power/phone/taxes etc., in to account, you will notice that you cannot setup home and still eat during the first one year of your job.

The solution is simple. Work abroad as postdoc till you have reasonable savings that will see you through these financial shocks. Remember that every new faculty has an initial phase of frustration (new environment, things not as good as dreamt etc,). Adding a financial frustration to it is only going to make things worse.

If you are curious about who said what about "pay commissions or purchase parity [or] blah blah", you might want to try this. ;-)


  1. Anonymous said...

    At the same time, the consultancy you carry out will bring you (some times a lot) money. When you join central govt institute, you will be given a grant of at least 50 k for buying computer. How did you forget these two!?
    Further, if you work in central govt institutions you have lot of other benefits- quarters, free internet connection, FREE or very low cost) education in THE best schools of India (kendriya vidhyalaya) for your children, medical reimbursement, low interest loans for many things, LTC, pension and much more. I think, once you are promoted to next levels- associate and full professor, you have sufficient money. I have seen many professors owning cars like Hoda City, given their children even medical education. If they could manage, what else do we need?