Friday, January 29, 2010

End of January update (and maybe a teeny rant...)

I think I’m starting to like this whole being more professional thing! I’ve been doing pretty good with dressing a little nicer, wearing makeup and whatnot. (Speaking of which, I’m now totally addicted to Aromaleigh!) The interpersonal aspects of being more professional are obviously much more difficult for me. However, I think I’ve been doing really well. When labmates (okay, just the Golden Child) do things that annoy me and/or make my life generally more difficult and/or compromise my experiments, I’ve been calling them on it. Of course, that’s only after I’ve worked through my initial urge to Velcro my racks to my bench. (Seriously, I have little Velcro squares sitting in my bag right now…) I even sent out an email to the lab about things that are just generally good lab practice. Like don’t use my bench space and leave an empty box of tips. So at least I’m being pretty gently vocal about my expectations and things that are bothering me.

Speaking of things that are bothering me, Crazy Man and I just had a come to Jesus meeting about the Golden Child. Golden Child is the only person in our lab that has been trained to do a very specialized technique with our collaborators. Both the Ducklings want to learn, and the Golden Child has agreed to train them, but insists that it takes about 3 months to become comfortably proficient. All this is fine and dandy, but there are some bits of data that are essential for two of my projects that would be most easily and rapidly generated using this technique.

The last time Crazy Man and I discussed the best way to approach this question, we brought Golden Child into our meeting to ask for his help in generating this data. We discussed what would need to be done and how much time it would take and Golden Child agreed. It would be maybe two full days worth of work for him, and he would be an author on the papers because the figure he generates is an undeniably integral part of the project.

However… (isn’t there always a however?) Crazy Man, Golden Child and I were sitting around chatting in the lab yesterday, and Golden Child basically said that he wasn’t going to do these experiments, that we would basically have to wait for Duckling 2 to do them (part of this relates to her project as well). I was livid. I glared at Crazy Man. I glared at Golden Child. I ruminated and seethed for a while.

Today, I wanted to meet with Crazy Man about some other stuff, but I did come right out and tell him that I didn’t appreciate AT ALL Golden Child backing out like that. I told him that I was frustrated because Golden Child is hyperfocused on his stuff and what he thinks is important and really doesn’t contribute anything for the good of the lab as a whole.

I was very blunt with Crazy Man about what I thought about it and why I feel that way. I pointed out that the Golden Child has gone on vacation for a month on one occasion and two weeks on another occasion and expected other FGS and me to take care of his cells the whole time he was gone, and I’m not talking about just splitting transformed cells. I’m talking about a whole day or two worth of work. But he can’t be bothered to wash his own dishes or train new students, which frustrates me to no end.

At any rate, I talked to Crazy Man about it in a very adult and professional manner, and Crazy Man is going to talk to him about it. I think Crazy Man realized there was some general discontent, but I don’t think he realized the extent or the exact reasons. I think he thinks we were just being bitchy, but now he understands precisely why I’ve been upset with Golden Child.

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