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Post Archive
2017 (0)2010 (27)
November (4)

New strategy for NFL Pick'em Pool
Friday, November 12, 2010

Mentoring - a technician's perspective
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NFL Pick'em - Week 9 Edition
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The four words a scientist hates to hear:
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
October (4)

In which I am petty and mean-spirited
Friday, October 29, 2010

XKCD is the awesomest.
Monday, October 25, 2010

DonorsChoose!
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just call me "Damn Good Administrative Assistant"
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
September (5)

Observations from the couch
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Observations from the ER
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh hell yeah!
Friday, September 17, 2010

A scientific career milepost?
Saturday, September 11, 2010

What I wish I knew before...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
August (14)

A small victory!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DGT and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Friday, August 27, 2010

Question
Friday, August 27, 2010

Forgetful
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Everyone should check their renter/owner insurance
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Burglaring update
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Well that fucking sucks.
Friday, August 20, 2010

Early birds
Friday, August 20, 2010

Recommendation letters
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So many meetings
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another talk?
Monday, August 9, 2010

Mmmm... meme....
Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ah, technology
Thursday, August 5, 2010

Up and running
Thursday, August 5, 2010
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Damn Good Technician

I'm a technician at a big ol' pharmaceutical company. A damn good technician, if I do say so myself.

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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Can't offer much beyond informing you it CAN be worse; the one time the lab I was in moved it was partially due to the fact said lab had been massively flooded over the holidays (we were going t. . .Read More
Dec 22, 2010, 1:36pm

well, I started out strong with 0.... Ravens didn't fly high and mighty. I guess I could go for the fights of the mascots again, since falcons should beat ravens? Anyhow, let's see what the. . .Read More
Nov 13, 2010, 12:21pm
Comment by Odyssey in New strategy for NFL Pick'em Pool

Crap. Nobody told me there was a Thursday night game... DGT, your new strategy sounds about as good as mine, which seems to be working... . . .Read More
Nov 12, 2010, 8:34am
Comment by chall in NFL Pick'em - Week 9 Edition

DGT, I second that hope for a better Vikings week... at least they won ;) I guess I should abstain from my "I'll put them in winning the spread every week" but it feels much easier to face I dreame. . .Read More
Nov 09, 2010, 1:43pm
Comment by Prof-like Substance in NFL Pick'em - Week 9 Edition

Is it just me or is that trophy getting grainier with each week?   Next week there should be a summary of the overall leader board. With only one point keeping me from the top . . .Read More
Nov 09, 2010, 12:44pm
Awesome Stuff
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Becoming a technician does not require a formal education process in the same way that becoming a professor does.  There's no graduate school for technician-ing, and so technicians don't get the student-mentor interaction in the same way that PhD students do (yes, yes, caveats about terrible PIs who are terrible mentors, etc).  In my experience, I've taken "mentoring" to be "learning from the mistakes and successes of other technicians".

A good portion of my mentoring came from the two lab managers who ran the labs I worked in as an undergraduate.  I watched what they did - good and bad - and tried to use those habits to shape my own behavior. The first lab manager I worked with (monikered here as "Shelly") had a lot of crap to deal with.  There were several... let's say... difficult personalities in the lab, demanding infinite access to finite resources, and Shelly handled them with... let's say... varying degrees of success.  Shelly enjoyed being a technician, but didn't really get into the science - she liked doing experiments but didn't feel compelled to read papers, or ask the PI if she could design her own experiments.  From Shelly, I learned that (1) people will dick you around until you make it clear that you are done with their bullshit; (2) it is important to have an ally who is higher up the foodchain than you are; and (3) remember that being a regular salaried employee can generate friction from people who think that they are the only "real" scientists and you are just the help - and it's up to you to decide how you'll handle that friction.

The second lab manager I worked with (let's go with "Gloria") was probably the technician I can best call a "mentor".  Gloria was proud of her organization and control over the the lab and the people in it.  She felt like it was her responsibility to manage the undergraduates, instruct new people in common lab protocols, and help out our PI with whatever was needed at any time.  Gloria really liked the science our lab did, and knew more about our topic than almost everyone else in lab.  Our PI recognized that Gloria was tremendously valuable and gave her the meaty, interesting projects because Gloria could be counted on to come through with results.  I distinctly remember Gloria explaining to me how she had organized the samples in the cold room, and I dreamily thought to myself, "One day, I'll have my very own lab just like Gloria, and I'll be able to run it however I want!"  Perhaps having a mentor like her in my formative, undergraduate years is why I ended up not going to graduate school - I didn't see a PhD as a necessary part of running a lab.  Gloria had her faults - she tried really hard to be friends with everyone, and there were some people who seemed to feel that being friends with the technician meant that they could assume a priority position at the top of her to-do list.  Anyone can be accomodating from time to time, but when you're really busy, having people always assuming you can do "just one little thing" for them makes for a tough schedule.  From Gloria, I learned that (1) being 100,000% on top of your shit earns you a massive amount of respect; (2) being buddy-buddy with everyone in lab isn't the greatest plan; (3) people really appreciate when someone takes care of the organization of the lab.

So that's what I've learned from my first two mentors.  There's a whole lot more I could discuss about other people I've worked for, but, as has been discussed quite a bit in the forums, we're getting into uncomfortable information-sharing territory by disclosing a lot of details about our PIs.  I'm trying rather hard not to make that mistake again.

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