Friday, January 30, 2009

Is it wrong to expect a co-author to give you five minutes of their time to look at some data and "push" you in the right direction?

I understand that independence is one of the hallmark's of a good post-doc, but where do you draw the line between being independent and being to stubborn (or unwilling) to get/give some help. I don't want to have the data analyzed for me (sorry, this is the part I love), but what I do want is five minutes (OK, maybe ten minutes) of someones time to bounce ideas off of, to find out if doing a, b, or c is worth the time or effort or if I am just chasing my tail.

Yes, I could go to my PI (who is a great scientific mind, amazingly knowledgeable in the field in general, and just a nice guy to go talk to when you are stuck) but he is somewhat "removed" from the specifics of the project, the recent literature, etc. The vibe I have been getting from him in our past few meetings has been one of "I've seen the individual parts before, now I want to see it all together..." and is waiting patiently (emphasis on patiently since he really has been) for the big huge pile of data.

What I want from my co-author (OK, he trained me on everything involved in the protein prep, mutations, etc.--stuff that I had no clue as to how to do, made the first batch of protein with me so I could learn, etc. and is a co-PI on the grant we just wrote) is just five minutes, that's all. Is it too much to ask? I know is busy starting up a lab and getting into the new "faculty role" and having grad students in his lab, but things here are not that easy either...five minutes, that's all I need. I wouldn't be complaining/whining/whatever if he also responded to emails on time, showed up to pick up various things (ie cultures, stocks, reagents that I have prepped for him since I have the functioning lab right now) on time, and just in general be around when I need a quick pick-me-up (like I have been around for him). He asks me to do something (or I generally offer) and I am johnny-on-the-spot.

Ok, enough with the whining and the poor-me. I can figure this stuff out! I have the books, I have the papers, I CAN DO THIS AND I DON'T NEED ANYONE ELSE...ok, I feel better. Let's see if I still feel better when he shows up in a bit to pick up a stock of reagents...

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