Thursday, May 31, 2012
Do I shake the dust off this old blog or start from scratch?
It's been so long, it probably wouldn't make a difference and starting over can be exciting (unless we are talking about cloning.) Not to mention, the blogger interface is so different that I could barely figure out how to post.
Well, whatever I decide, it's likely to be a slow start. I do hope I can build up some momentum though.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I’m sure this is common in many labs, departments and offices: Some dumb fucking donkey (DFD) takes advantage of a good situation and everyone suffers because the people in charge prefer punishing everyone instead of confronting the person who is actually causing the problem. These instances might include, but are not limited to the following examples.
DFD situation #1:
DFD takes advantage of ordering by claiming that PI approved the purchase of an expensive reagent or kit (or whatever). After the item is ordered, it is discovered that permission was never granted and PI was completely out of the loop. This happens a few more times and involves the same person.
Solution: Enforce a new rule where ALL orders must gain approval from the PI, causing orders to get placed only once per week as PI does not have time to review orders multiple times a week.
DFD situation #2:
DFD refuses to turn in packing slips when an item arrives. This of course, pisses off the purchasing department, ultimately resulting in the lab manager getting bitched out.
Solution: Instead of speaking to DFD, the entire lab gets a 20 minute lecture on packing slips, what they look like, what they are for, why they are turned in to the purchasing department and what happens when they don’t. The tone of this lecture is extremely condescending and most lab members leave irritated because they don’t appreciate being spoken to like a child. As expected, DFD seems clueless and the problem continues.
DFD situation #3:
Instead of working a full day, the DFD comes in late and leaves early. Unfortunately, this DFD is the lab manager, so ordering is delayed; work orders for equipment repairs are put off, sterile items and media run out, etc. Lab members complain to PI.
Solution: Instead of asking the DFD to work more than 4.5 hours/day, the lab chores that DFD doesn’t want to do are redistributed to the lab members that actually work, i.e. post-docs and grad students.
Personally, I don’t understand why it is so difficult to confront the person who is causing the problem. I’m learning to take this shit in stride and file the experiences under, “Behavior I will not repeat when I obtain my own lab.”
Any DFDs in your lab/office/whatever
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Magnum, PI is very supportive and has no problems with his post-docs starting families. In fact, he was quite excited when I told him I was expecting and immediately told me not to worry about any decreased productivity that I might experience during the time before and after I gave birth. He went on to tell me about several other female post-docs that started families while in his lab that were able to balance work and life and move on to successful careers. This was wonderful news and it was a relief that he was fine with and understood that a decrease in productivity would to occur. Unfortunately, I was not fine with this then and I am still not fine with it now. It nags at me.
The fact that my project went to hell in a hand-basket this summer does not ease the constant nagging voice that tells me I am falling behind, that I am not producing enough data, that I am not getting as much done each day as I possibly can. I know that I just can’t work the hours that I used to, yet I refuse to except that this means that my productivity must also slow down. (I know, it's silly, but it's how I feel.) As a result, I’ve tried to make up for the lack of time in the lab by trying to utilize every single minute of time. I make plans, I organize accordingly and I multi-task like it’s going out of style. Unfortunately, I still find ways of not getting everything done and it drives me crazy and makes for a cranky MXX.
Take today for instance. I chose to stay home for a few hours this morning so that I could write and submit an abstract for ASM. I can’t seem to get a lot of writing done at work due to constant interruptions, but by staying at home, experiments are not getting done. I prefer to write the abstract at work during incubations, PCRs, etc. I tried this initially, but it didn't work out. On to plan B; work on the abstract at home during the evening. Unfortunately, my husband is working around the clock this week as a major deadline is approaching for him, so all child care falls 100% on my shoulders. Mini-xx goes to sleep at 7:30, but that’s when the never-ending chores start. After that I just want to go to pass out. So, on to plan C; take a few hours at home and push the abstract out the door while simultaneously NOT doing experiments. This is what I did, but I feel like it wasn't the best use of my time. I always think I can be doing something else while writing, especially something as lame as an abstract.
Anyway. The decreased productivity is constantly on my mind. I recently brought this up to Magnum, PI during a brief conversation. I stated to him that I was not pleased with how far behind I had fallen regarding my project. Specifically, I anticipated a paper being submitted at this point. He looked at me like he thought I was crazy and told me he was more than pleased with my work since joining his lab. He told me he thought I was too ambitious and that my expectations were slightly unrealistic. I’m glad that he is happy and it’s great that he is pleased with my progress, but somehow this doesn’t quiet the voice in my head and unfortunately, I still can’t see how my expectations are unreasonable.
To me the expectations aren’t the problem, I am. Cutting myself slack is not something I have ever been able to do. Instead, I’ve decided that I need to find a way to add another 5 hours to my time in the lab…at least until I get back on track. Putting in an extra hour or two everyday is not going to work. This would completely fuck up things at home and besides, I need a chunk of time. So, I’m thinking that if I can stay until 10pm two days a week (instead of just one), then maybe I can begin to get back on track. The downside is obvious, I will miss another night with mini-xx. On the plus side, it will keep me from putting in serious hours on the weekend, which I don’t want to do as these are the only two full days I get to spend with my family.
Oh I don't know. Now that I am reading what I've written, it does sound a bit crazy.