In my current employment situation, all my hours are potentially billable, much like the world of lawyers. (Our rates aren't as high, we have expensive toys in the lab, and we aren't … well,… we're more likeable.) This has given me a different perspective on my job than I had at the past when I worked for corporations that simply had an internal overall lab R & D budget that my time was billed against. In the past, I would rarely use support staff to help me out with mundane tasks. Here is it essential to keep a project on budget, since the support staff will bill their hours at a significantly lower rate than I do. Another example: A colleague recently needed a walking treadmill for a project. He went to the local store and found a model that he liked. It was not stocked at that store but at another store across town. Doing the math in his head, it was cheaper to the budget to get a more expensive treadmill now than to spend the extra time going around town to save a few hundred bucks.
You get the point. The math is simple but that is not my issue here. The real question I have is this: should people in more traditional labs (i.e., those with only an internal R & D budget, and that really don't have hours directly charged against them) adopt this attitude as well? Why or why not?