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Lab Rats

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New Lab, New Gripes [Jun. 3rd, 2002|06:14 pm]
Lab Rats


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(1) This lab does both Wet and Dry. I'm a biologist with a bit of perl background, so the PI gave me a project which includes, at its first phase, pure perl work. I inherited 15Gb of data, "living" in a Unix environment. I think I have hundreds of files in each folder there. The student who did this lab, he graduated (M.Sc.) a year and a half ago. So i'm relearning my Unix - which I haven't used for six years - and the data in one go. And nobody has a clue what's going on there. At least the file names are highly informative.

(2) I'm in love with this lab. The other students are adorable. The PI is a pro, and a really nice man. However, can we say "micro-management"? Six of us Dry-side students moved to a room just assigned to this lab. Brand-new everything, which means we need to decide on the sitting arrangement. Yesterday when I arrived at the lab - still heading to the main room 'cause the comps here weren't ready yet - I found what I laughingly called "an eviction notice" on the keyboard i've been using, saying the new room is all set, as a Ph.D. student I get a first pick of where to sit (4 M.Sc. students + me + a pre-established Ph.D. student), and he recommends the corner comp.

So I went to that room, and decided that i'm not too fond of the corner spot for a number of reasons, though it has its pluses. Also, one of the M.Sc. students had already said she prefers that spot, so, permission to override or not, that's not a nice thing to do. Later today I was gone from the lab for a couple of hours, and when I returned i found three bemused fellow students who wondered why the PI had told them that I wanted the corner spot. I explained, they said he wanted to talk to me about it.

Long story short, I moved to the corner position. Because though the wording was that of a recommendation, we all got the strong sense that the PI won't leave us be until I move to the corner.

I'm more amused than anything, but serioulsy...

(This PI is known for keeping students on a leash so short you can't see it. Mostly I don't mind it, because his idea of work hours is the same as mine and I don't need to be motivated so he mostly leaves me be. This is my first run into this aspect of his.)

[User Picture]From: iluvpokeystix
2008-11-10 04:58 pm (UTC)
Our main P.I. is a micro-manager too, in a lab with 15 people. Its sort of like uber-micromanaging on a 30-second memory. Our discussions go like this: "Dear Dr Boss-man: I have my seminar on November 18th at 12pm in this room of building X." Repeat every week from June 1st to November 6th. November 6th, boss-man says "So when is this seminar? Oh, why didn't you tell me earlier? Can't you change that? I won't be there."

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[User Picture]From: hagar_972
2008-11-11 07:11 am (UTC)
Sounds like my previous boss, who was this interesting combination of micro-managing and neglectful.
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[User Picture]From: ravenword
2008-11-10 07:03 pm (UTC)
Oyyy! I know the desk dance well. When we had 9 people working in a tiny lab that comfortably houses 4, I got shuffled around a lot. Eventually I was squished into a little counter with my back directly to the door of the lab (so I couldn't see who was coming and going, and was always startled when people came in to talk to me), and I had my desk moved twice by my boss without getting any input into the matter (I was the lab manager and had more work to do at my desk than many other lab members, but I got screwed with the worst desk anyway).
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[User Picture]From: hagar_972
2008-11-11 07:15 am (UTC)
At least our PI's nice and really is trying to do right by us. The micro-managing is his only fault, and thankfully I suffer less from that.

But ugh for back to the wall or having one's work needs disregarded.
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[User Picture]From: lickis
2008-11-11 03:33 am (UTC)
My new PI is probably the total opposite of that. He kinda just leaves us be to figure things out on our own, which is nice but also a little scary - the literature is all new to me and I have no idea where to start!
However, the lab manager did give me a good desk with a window and everything! :)
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[User Picture]From: hagar_972
2008-11-11 07:16 am (UTC)
Work-wise i've been mostly left to my own: i'm yet to find my hands and feet in the 15Gb of data.

But at least people are so helpful when I ask.
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