“At the end of my second year at the lab I realized that the other research assistants and I were working way to much overtime.
Of course we were not getting paid for the extra hours. We were exempt from the New York’s state laws regarding overtime. I asked the secretary if I could see the grant application and acceptance papers. She was more than pleased to let me peruse them. What I saw surprised me.”
“The grant money more than covered our wages and hours. It also covered EIGHT high grade workstation computers. There was money for leasing hours on a super computer. However we only had SIX workstation computers and WERE NOT allowed to use the supercomputer facilities for our work.
“Where was the money going?”
“Where are the missing computers?”
“I spoke to a few of my research associate friends and was advised not to worry about it. They said ‘This is typical of any project supported by grants.’ I could hardly believe that. What was the point of going through the grant process if the participants were not going to abide by the rules?”
“Sure enough that was the story. After talking to a few other research assistants in other departments it became clear that this is how business is done.”
“I was advised to avoid pursuing the path that I was on. ‘You will only destroy yourself. You will become a marked man. You will never work in another research facility for the remainder of your life.’ I could not believe that those words could possibly be true.”
“Then the crowning glory of all my suspicions appeared.”
“A very promising grant was sent out by the state for advisory work. The advisory work was to include technical advice, human resource advice, and a post-mortem on the project after it was completed. Additionally, the grant required suggestions on the future staffing levels the state department issuing the grant.”
“So there it was, bare faced and right in front of me. A department within the State of New York was giving a grant to any research entity that could advise it on how to do its job and how to manage its people. Unbelievably, the grant also was asking the researching organization to judge the results of its own work. Talk about the fox watching the chickens!”
“To top it all off, the research group was to advise the state department about its staffing levels. Even the dumbest research assistant knew what that answer would be. SURE, HIRE MORE STATE WORKERS. THE DEPARTMENT IS UNDERSTAFFED.”
“It was a grant to not only do the state department’s job but also to advise them to hire more people. What a grant country.”
“I departed the Long Island Laboratory when I saw that the missing computers had been located on state university campuses across New York. They were not located in research facilities but rather in the dorm rooms of students; students whose fathers were the directors of various departments in the laboratory.”
“I had reached another dead end in finding my original lost thought. How could anything be original in a world of corruption? Impossible!”
The sad man put his head in his hands and wept bitterly.