Would you risk your career for money?
I’m trying to figure out what motivates people to choose a career path. Some people, I know, are in it for the most money, some just want to be able to travel and some people honestly never have a career. I don’t understand though, going through the crappy hours, honestly low pay of getting a PhD, all to throw that away with fraudulent NSF grants.
I’m talking about the Virginia Tech professor who was recently accused of financial fraud for sending money to China and not paying the correct amount to Virginia Tech. Now his trial will be in 2018 and until then I am just going off of the alleged accusations because this man is not the first nor the last to throw away his career for money.
What gets me though is, he has a tenure track job. He has won the academic lottery and is getting paid to theoretically do what he wants. I don’t know about you but I honestly wouldn’t waste my entire career on money, that I don’t even get to keep!!! I’m sure this is where the nuance of ethical violations comes in. Its a slippery slope and I have to assume that this Dartmouth educated professor didn’t go through his grad program thinking – if only I can land a tenure track job, then I can steal a million dollars and send it back home.- Thats not enough motivation to get you through the years of school.
But what, I wonder, was the first pebble that fell to lead him down this slippery slope? I’m sure it was something simple, like maybe a contract they held did more than they were supposed to and wanted compensation. But when should someone or could someone have blown the whistle? This seems like a case that from the inside doesn’t seem as bad as it looks from the outside. But it looks really bad.
Every grant I’ve been on has been painstakingly obsessed with a clear budget and maybe its because I’ve gotten lucky on who I work with. To me though, I’m happy to get a PhD but I’m not just doing it for the sake of it. I hope it helps me get a job I want down the line and I don’t plan on throwing away (oh god) whats going to be at least 20 years of education for fraud.
Until next time,