I am starting my lab as an Assistant Professor at a Big Research University (summer 2010). I have a super partner and an adorable kiddo, Mini-G. I tend to rush into things and then figure them out as I muddle along. I'm sure that will be true here, too. I hope to use this space to maintain my sanity and share my perspectives on science and academia. These perspectives may sometimes qualify as rants. There will undoubtedly be some crazy times on the tenure track. Gmail me [at] primaryinvestigator
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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UPDATED WITH ACTUAL CONTENT!!!
So, some of you may have been confused when earlier today this post went live without any content*. D'OH!
I totally fucked up and didn't even know it until I powered up my trusty iPhone early in the morning while I had some coffee before I went out for my run. At that point I coudn't make the empty post disappear, so I headed out on the trails for my super-awesome, super-soggy run (WOO HOO!). When I got done I had just enough time to scrub the mud off my legs before the crazy day of toddler fun with Mini-G. I managed to take down the blank, but couldn't put anything in its place. Sorry!
Of course, I had some great shit to put here, too! Fucking nuggets of wisdom, I tell ya! And I can't withold the good shit any longer. So, without further ado:
Gerty-Z's surefire plan to NOT work in my any lab
1. If you are an undergrad, please PLEASE make sure to contact me for the first time the day before the add-drop deadline. Make it clear that if you can't do research for credit that you won't get student aid this semester. Mention that I am YOUR LAST HOPE and YOU HAVE A FAMILY TO SUPPORT.
2. If I don't immediately (< 3 h) answer your email, a great idea is to just come by lab
3. signing off an email with ;-) is always a winner (srsly, wtf?)
4. If you are a prospective postdoc, mention that you are interested in working with me because "you like PCR"
5. Avoid reading any publications from my or anyone in my field. In fact, it is best if you are not sure what field I am in.
6. Be convinced I work on "human disease"
7. or, as Biochem Belle noticed: don't show up*! Especially if you have sent me at least 5 emails trying to schedule a meeting.
Hope you all had a super weekend!
*the first two comments are from the un-post, for your entertainment
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well, crap! I knew this would happen eventually. Clearly, I didn't mean to post this yet.
I had a student once demand to know where my PI (at the time) was. Mind you she came up to us at a bar on a Saturday night. And when we all could not tell them where she was (I'm not giving out home addresses to crazies at a bar...ever), they started screaming at us. It was all very fun to watch the bouncers cart them off.
And people say science isn't exciting.
Sometimes I wonder what goes on in people's heads. It never would have occurred to me to do any of the things on the list.
My PhD supervisor was one of those awesome PIs who all the undergrads were afraid of, he didn't tolerate any crap and it was always amusing to see him lay into a student who thought it was OK to pull something like this. Unfortunately it meant they would often come to one of us instead to avoid his wrath!
I had a student once come up to me in a cafe late one night and ask me to help them work out a problem for them. I asked them if they thought it fair for me to assign them homework if I randomly caught them outside of school with their friends and they said no way..."Then why the fuck do you think it is okay for you to pester me outside of work?" Then I politely told the sniveling little shitbag to scram before I smited them with the tip of my boot.
Oooh...I totally want to sign off with a winker on my next job app email! ;)
Hey! Don't make fun of emoticons. I'm addicted to them...
I hate emoticons! It drives me crazy when people use them for everything. Although my grandma just figured out how to add them to her emails. It's kind of cute when she adds them to every sentence just because she can.
Yep, I'm with you on this one Nikkilina, I hate emoticons almost as much as abbreviations like LOL and LMFAO. It irritates me even more though that there isn't any better way to convey how hilarious something is and that you are actually laughing out loud! I was reading a forum post on IMDB for a particular film I was interested in watching the other day and one of the posts had two or three emoticons after each damn sentence, I couldn't concentrate on what they were actually saying! Needless to say this is how I felt...
The abbreviations don't bother me too much, unless they're used at an inappropriate time. In a text it's one thing, but in an email, write out the darned phrase! It isn't going to kill you to write out you or your. Those couple extra letters don't take that much time!
I've had all those... Some of the postdoc inquiries I've had are just laughable.
"My extensive experience in manual fish fertilization should prove invaluable to your work in molecular biophysics..."
It never ceases to amaze me when people come to interview for a post-doc positions and have read little to nothing published by the lab. I just want to know what these people are thinking or if they are thinking. Of course, if they really like PCR, then who cares.
I am somewhat ambivalent about the emoticons. If I get an email from a friend, it is OK. From a prospective student? Not so much. And I would not ever use them in an email to a colleague. But I swear, if someone starts emailing me with "texting" abbreviations (and they weren't trying to be funny) I would go off the wall.
Odyssey, I would be happy with someone that coherent contacting me at this point. How do people get through a PhD program without a clue? And how did they get my email address?
Surely these things do not happen!
You wouldn't go for a job interview completely unprepared at this level right? I mean not showing up or knowing what the person does is fairly basic stuff. I am often shocked at what people think they can get away with.
GR- awesome retort to the "sniveling little shit bag".
Im actually a fan of the stroll by. Ive resorted to that method on occasion.
This one time I had an appt to meet w one of my fav profs, who I was really really hoping would let me join his lab for MS program. I only had a class or 2 w him, so this was not at all a sure thing. I mean, he knew who I was, but I hadnt even volunteered at his lab before.. up until then I was at one of the aerospace labs and I was hoping to switch to the mechanical side. Anyway, that day before the meeting, I ate a sketchy looking sub. It was a bad choice. I then spent the following couple of hours head buried in the toilet, and needless to say I missed my meeting.
I was feeling like shit, and I was sure I had wrecked my chances at his lab, and that my graduate career was over.
Later that afternoon when I was feeling better, I figured, hey, I cant give up! So, I strolled into his lab hoping to see him. He didnt know why I didnt show earlier, and I preferred not to go into details about it.. In any case, it worked. No idea why, but it did. We had a great meeting and he was happy to have me join the team.
Im just saying, sometimes, good things happen from the stroll by ;-) <---Note the appropriate use of the winky face
We had a med student who hounded my undergrad advisor for months to get a summer position with her. She showed up the first day....and never showed up again!?! Then when my advisor tried to contact her she wouldn't answer the emails! Finally our post-doc was able to get in touch with her and the med student said that she didn't like it and didn't want to do it anymore....WTF? I am still speechless about that one!?
It's pretty amazing what students think they can get away with sometimes. A similar situation happened whilst I was doing my masters. A student showed up for all of one day and then never came back again and thought it was OK not to tell anyone that he wanted to quit. Seriously, he took funding away from another potentially really good masters student just to decide that he didn't like it after one day - though I suppose we should also blame the people who interviewed him for not spotting that!
We had a rotating grad student do that here. She wasn't happy that her project involved cell counting, so she just stopped coming in. It was ridiculous, and my PI gave her an earful.
Ha ha, cell counting, I don't really blame her, I don't really blame her. But on a serious note, haven't these kids ever heard of talking to people about it, trying to get a different project they do enjoy, or simply sticking it out. My parents always taught me to stick with stuff for at least a while and if I still didn't like it then think about leaving, but I'd never just up and leave.
Wait! Did I just do a 'kids these days' style rant? That's what happens when you're 20's are rapidly slipping into oblivion. Maybe this means I'm ready for kids of my own?
Hah! I guess you could make yourself feel younger by joining GRM and the donkey for a weekend. Maybe the nipple shirt will show up at some point (fingers crossed).
Wow, that's definitely two different ends of the spectrum, thinking about having kids vs thinking about spending a weekend with GRM and the donkey. Hmm, which way to go?!
I'm just saying, there's poop either way. At least with GRM, there's a promise of booze (which you must avoid if you're prego or nursing)! Also, I think the dark side has cookies.
Ha ha ha, 'there's poop either way', love it! I thought there was a news article recently that suggested I was OK to drink when preggers though so should be good there.
Hmmm ... good point. But I bet it's more fun (and less safe) to drink with GRM.
What the hell!? I get busy for a few days and my commenters spiral down into spending time with GRM + donkey vs. kids? *sigh*
And since when do folks in their 20s get to throw down "kids these days" rants?!??! You ARE still one of the kids! :-)
yep, that was my, using a smiley. Because I'm not asking for a job.
OK folks. Let's not get sloppy here.
Will-these things do, in fact, happen. Apparently they will be happening almost daily for the rest of my life.
Evie-I think that there are times that a cruise-by is a good idea. In general I wouldn't react so poorly. But this kid was stopping by because I had not responded to his email. And he had waited 3 whole hours!! Apparently it did not occur to him that I was not responding to his email because I was busy. As a fun add-on, he then sent me an email complaining about how it was not "fair" that I hadn't taken the time to talk to him. But I digress. If you have had interactions with a prof., there may be times that an unannounced stop-by would be OK. But don't get your feelings hurt if they tell you to scram, is all.
Smote, brother, not smited. But push ups for "sniveling little shitbag"
We had a postdoc like that in a mates lab. Bugged and bugged to join. Finally allowed in and realises she has to work more than 30hrs/week and quit! No fuckin lie. Demanded extra vacations, no weekends and no evenings, wanted a payrise to extortionate levels (like $60k) and then quit when told "no"
That would have lead to his immediate fukken pain if it happened with me. I let them go so far, but I will fuckken step on that shit if they get too big for their boots. Navy brat upbringing maybe.
@CPP, uh I mean Tideliar! Seriously, a grad student I can (sort of) understand trying to get away with this kind of behaviour, but a postdoc, wow, that's brave! There are plenty of other postdocs out there gagging for a job I'm sure, what a jackass!
@ Gerty-Z Sorry for the digression. I'm only just in my 20's about to cross on over to the other side in a couple of months! But, point taken!
Odyssey started the donkey talk in his latest nipple shirt video. It was an homage to Odyssey's brilliance!
LMAO, thanks, I thinke...
And remember, thanks to the awesomeness of teh m3di4, 30 is the new 20, so you have another 10 years of carefree existence left! Like, I'm 25 again! It's awesome!
On the flip-side, when should a PI fire someone?
We had an undergrad who was part of a fraternity...do you see where I'm going with this? Someone in his frat house heard something about getting drunk by soaking your arms in ethanol and dared him to do it. Late one night in a grant-writing frenzy my advisor returned to the lab to see this idiot had fallen asleep with his forearms soaking in 100% eythl-alcohol!
He continued to work there until he graduated!
Please tell me you're making that story up! He really tried that?
More to the point, he continued to work there until he graduated?
DUDE! ON MY LIFE!!!! HE WORKED THEIR UNTIL HE GRADUATED!!!! LOLOLOLOLOL
But then this becomes a PI problem...they need to step in and say "forget this, you're done". But my PI didnt have a backbone...
Either the PI had a serious sense of humour or he opened such a can of whoopass that he never put a foot out of line again!
Did anyone take him seriously after that incident??
Something I would like to add to the authors list though is answering a cell phone or texting during an interview!!! DUDE! My niece does that one (I'm embarrassed to say). I had to tell her "dude? is a text from your friend about lunch that important that it can't wait till we finish our conversation? I promise, its okay if they wait 5 min before you get back to them while I explain to you the concept from your Biochemistry class (of which I am a DOCTOR of) that you are presently failing!" WTF?
Dude - none of the above. Knowing that makes that story even sadder.
Just as bad is the annoying vibrating noise when they don't answer the text. It just goes and goes. Just turn the phone off!!
Definitely, turn it off. I may not be the most important person in your life, but I want to at least feel like I am!
I was Grand ROunds recently and all the baby medics had their beepers going. The presenter finally lost his shit and made a big stink about respect. "If you're on call switch your beeper to vibrate and sit near the door, if you're not on call then have some damned respect and turn the damn thing off. It's disruptive and rude!"
Awesome = 50+ red faced babydocs switching their beepers off.
*blush* Awwww, gee thanks.
On the other hand, I'm not responsible for bringing the donkey over here...
I'd have given him a gentle shove and sent him outside to have a smoke before he was fully awake...
Ha ha! This brings back memories of undergrad lectures, back in the day when mobiles were first popular, people had really stupid tinny ringtones and there was no such thing as a vibrate setting. We used to get yelled at by profs if our phones went off in lectures (understandably), so it became a bit of a game, see if you could embarrass your friends by calling their phone before they had switched it off!
You're making yourself sound old again, Jane!
Janede did you ever do that hum thing with your class and the teacher couldnt find out who was making the noise...that is hilarious!
I love the hum game. That sounds like fun. Although now that I would be on the other end of that, probably very annoying.
it would freak them out if you started to hum with them! then start the tune Mary Had a Little Lamb...the class would think you were awesome!
Haha! That would be funny. Thanks for the heads up I will do that if it ever comes up!
If it does, you have GOT to let us know how it goes!
Good point labtech although in that category we can include showing up with a weapon and demanding the job, or any other equally violent act!
There is a great balance here about effort from minion and leadership from PI
Not bad idea for a LabSpaces Serial blog post thing..
Good idea WaIdta ( cool username bTW)