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