What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?
Senior Research Associate in Chicago:
"Buyer beware: PhD research jobs are low-paying and insecure."
Be very careful about any position that is "contingent" or supported by grant funds, as grants can disappear. A good employer will try to get your salary supported, at least partially, on "hard money" sources, in case the grant money dries up. Unfortunately, many research-support positions are tenuous.
You are safe (relatively speaking) if you are in a tenured position or tenure-track position, but those are getting harder to find as universities become less generous.
The big problem with university-related research positions is that Administrators treat the top people well, but support staff not so well. The big issue is lack of job security.