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This month's LabSpaces blogging theme is all about mentoring styles. The topic is pretty open ended, so we'll see where everyone ends up! We decided that the basic theme would be mentoring styles and we'd all write on the topic from our chosen perspective as mentee or mentor and then provide some insight on how we think the process can be improved upon. I'll keep updating this summary post as more entries go live! Happy reading.
Genomic Repairman kicked this one off early. He's off on his honeymoon but gave us a great post on his experiences as both mentee and mentor. Appearances by lazy PI, Awesome PI, and the amazing Genomic Repair Girl.
Dr. Girlfriend thinks that the mentee-mentor relationship should be an open one with mutual respect and the knowledge that the mentor is not all knowing, but there to provide some support and guidance as long as the mentee is willing to put in the effort
GertyZ thinks the mentor is there for support and the relationship should be a learning experience for a driven graduate student. She also beileves it takes a village and mentees should search out more than one supporting mentor for expert advice in related fields.
Geeka's always been in charge, and so has a list of expectations for mentees
Rift doesn't think he's ever had a true mentor, in the Harry Potter sense of the definition...
DamnGoodTechnician talks about mentoring from a technician's perspective at a pharma company
I talk about my mentorship experience, and how I've used that to model my current lab management style
David Manly talks about how one mentor almost ruined science for him, and the mentors who then roped him back in
Namnezia chronicles his fabulous mentoring experiences. I'm totally jealous.
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I wonder how long it’s been since you graduated, Brian. You’ve heard of Stockholm Syndrome, no? When you say things like:
I have the utmost of respect for my mentor. My scientific pedigree certainly is better for having done my PhD with him, and I don’t think I would have been a better scientist having gone through the circus with anyone but him.
I just want to shout, “Noooooo!” I can understand why you respect him as a scientist – for his output and brilliance. But as a human being? As a mentor? Sorry, what he did was not “mentoring” any more than someone who throws a child into the middle of a pool is “teaching” that child to swim. You may have the benefit of his pedigree, but I’m pretty sure you would have learned a lot more—and enjoyed your life more, too—had you actually encountered an equally brilliant but real mentor in grad school.
The fact that some people survive abusive relationships and become stronger for what they had to overcome doesn’t justify the abuse, and it doesn’t mean that those people needed to be in an abusive relationship to become strong. That kind of thinking only perpetuates the circumstances that make the abuse possible. Think about it this way: if a prospective grad student contacted you about joining your former advisor's lab, would you tell them to do it?