Letter from Louis Sokoloff to the NIH Hearing Office
Throughout his career, Sokoloff was irritated by any bureaucratic demands that might distract him from research. His intense
frustration about the parking shortage at NIH was clear in this letter, as he protested the suspension of his parking privileges
by outlining the difficulties it would cause him, and announced that he would suspend his section's research activities
and take annual leave for the duration of the suspension.
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1959-03-13 (March 13, 1959)
NIH Hearing Office
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Early Years at The National Institute of Mental Health, 1953-1967
Box Number: 7
Folder Number: 47
March 13, 1959
NIH Hearing Office
THRU: Chief, Laboratory of Clinical Science, NIMH
Administrative Officer, NIMH-NINDB
Chief, Section on Cerebral Metabolism, NIMH
Is reference to your notification of my parking privilege suspension, this is to inform you that I do not intend to appeal
your decision at the present time. It is obvious that any such action would be useless in view of the apparent inability or
disinclination of the parking authorities either to consider or to comprehend the nature of laboratory research and the unique
problems of the bench scientist. I shall not review these here, since they have already been adequately described by my immediate
supervisor, the Chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Science, in several memoranda which, like the problems described in them,
have been largely ignored by the parking authorities.
On the other hand, I regret that I am also unable to accept the terms of the suspension. The nature of my current research
program is such as to necessitate my working until approximately midnight several nights a week while at the same time also
requiring my arrival between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. to perform special medical procedures on patients or normal control volunteers.
I daresay that this work schedule represents a greater contribution of free, uncompensated time and effort to the service
of NIH than is devoted by any or all of the Gray Ladies for whom the parking authorities recognize the justice of a reserved
parking area. The idea of including in such long working hours the additional physical affront of a prolonged overland hike
to "Outer Mongolia" in the pitch blackness of a cold winter midnight is completely intolerable to me, and it is unreasonable
of anyone to expect it of me.
Therefore, in order to abide by the terms stated in your directive, I shall find it necessary to suspend the research activities
of my section and to take annual leave for the duration of my parking suspension. I do so reluctantly, not because of the
loss of an amount of annual leave which I voluntarily lose by default every year anyway, but because of the enforced interruption
of an active research program by administrative short-sightedness.