Release Time and Other Financial Nightmares
So now that my lab has some funding and we are not going to go up in flames of financial ruin, I am coming to learn the intricacies of budgeted grants. Unlike my start-up, this money cannot be used for anything, but is dedicated to specific purposes. For example, I tried to order file folders so that we can organize papers related to the research. Unfortunately, I did not budget office supplies into my grant (apparently supplies and office supplies are not the same). So I can't use that money for folders. Instead I have to dip into my slush fund, which is a limited pool of money from my endowed chair that I am trying not to spend.
Similarly, I now need to come up with release time. For those of you unfamiliar, release time is where I pay part of my 9 month salary from my grants. I'm not sure that I'm actually being released from anything (in theory teaching, but in reality not so much). It is more like a tax. However, money budgeted as summer salary is not the same as release time, so yet again , I get to dip into my slush fund to keep the wheels greased. It is very frustrating to work within the specific confines of a budget. To a large extent money should just be money and if it is spent on stuff related to the proposal and we get papers it shouldn't matter.