Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dear self....

Dear Self--

Well, it looks as though you have gotten yourself stuck in a somewhat precarious position. Just do the experiments, don't let anyone except Big Boss Man know what you are doing, write the paper and let him decide what he wants to do with it. Isn't that why they pay him the big bucks (and he pays you to do what you are good at?) At this point, is it really worth arguing with research scientist about her data, her manuscript-that of course just needs tweaking-and how this is going to be her paper submitted this year. It is not worth it. You've already talked to Big Boss Man, he told you what he wants you to do (and of course your really cool experiments that go with it) and knows that the research scientist is not happy with this arrangement. It's not your fault the data is shitty and needs to be redone. It's not your fault you know how to use really cool technique. Suck it up, shut your mouth and don't get baited into an argument with research scientist about it.

Yours always

Dear Research Scientist-

First of all, thank you for giving me a copy of the paper you are working on. No, wait, you didn't. Big Boss Man had to photocopy it for me. Ok, let's start this again, thank you so much for including me in the author list of the paper you are writing, especially since you go into details in the methods about the really cool experiment that I have researched and I am going to run. Oh, wait, that's right I wasn't included on your author list. Hmmm...ok thank you for arguing with our boss about where to submit the paper- I do agree that our normal, default (but still very good) journal may not be the best place for this paper and commenting on how long it is going to take me to do everything so we just should submit the incomplete, preliminary data to highly competitive journal and look like a bunch of idiots. No, that one is genuine, you did do that. Thank you for throwing me under the bus, trying to make me look like an idiot with no skills.

Time will tell, dear research scientist, time will tell. And oh yeah, shooting to get out one paper every two years- not so much. You are lucky Big Boss Man is cool and has already established himself-where else can you go where a paper (or short communications) is productive enough (average for our field-dear one- is 1-2 papers every YEAR). But, I know you are busy and supposedly make less money than me (because you pay daycare- that makes no sense in my brain). Really, I must thank you though for bringing out the attitude in me, bringing back the drive and the constant pressure of trying to prove myself. Thank you for not making the lab a motherfucking care bear tea party. I appreciate the competition. Bring it on. Please do not feel bad if I ignore you in lab. I do not want to hear about "tummy" aches or anything else you have to say. Its not personal, its business. Wait, no it is personal...never mind.

No love


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It seems that the cold war...

has begun and I am not even sure what I did to start the standoff. I think I would feel better if I had earned the silent treatment, and yet, I don't care enough to find out which of our several conversations had set off the iciness in the lab. Bad that I don't care, eh, maybe but at this point I am enjoying the silence....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Red and White on the field

Mmmmmm....coffee, Badger football and a pile of NMR papers to read. I love Saturday mornings.

Wofford? Where the hell is Wofford?? Oh, wait, its "the quintessential liberal arts college" in South Carolina whose "historic trip" to Camp Randall will be the largest crowd to ever watch the Terriers play. Hahaha. We better win.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Owww-Ow-Oww...and numbed nostrils...

Stupid dentist and his stupid drill and those stupid needles. The Novocaine he so carefully injected into the upper portion of my mouth has not worn off yet and has actually numbed one of my nostrils. Have you ever had a numb nostril? Quite the experience, especially during allergy season where you can't be sure that there isn't a trickle coming out on that side. Couple that with the droopy upper lip and I am quite a sight right now. The shot given at the junction of my mouth (in the back, which made my chin hurt since he was so close to the nerve) has now worn off (thank god, no more drooling) but the ibuprofen hasn't kicked in yet, so opening my mouth to talk puts me in agony. Which is fantastic since bossman wants to talk about data in a few minutes. Bwahaha! Oh, oww, that hurts too... I hate the dentist.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Royal rumble looming on the horizon

Seminar went amazingly well. My boss was pleased (and is using my slides/new slides I am making him for his upcoming talks in the spring and summer), the audience seemed genuinely interested and all-in-all I feel pleased. All was right in the world.

Note, the use of the word *was*. The research scientist in my lab, who had done some early work on my favorite protein (MFP) decided to "correct" me after my talk on an answer I had given to one of the few questions I had. Her "correction"- as in telling me what was in the crystal structure- didn't answer the questions any better than I did. In fact, her comments didn't answer the questions at all. When I mentioned this to her, she back-tracked and informed me "that this was for my future knowledge" yadda-yadda-ya. The thing is, everything she tells me is for my future knowledge. Some of her other golden nuggets of knowledge include

"You can not use a P 2 to do kinetics"...duh,
"When you use para film, you have to pull it and stretch it otherwise it won't seal" ummm, yeah
"IF you want to go anywhere with molecular biology you have to do this this way..." even though I was training *her* on my optimized techniques

It is always an uphill battle with her. I off-handedly mention a conversation I had with old grad student and laugh about the things he was saying and two days later she comes in explaining the methods/ideas/theories to answer his questions like I am the one who doesn't know what is going on. She can't get past the fact that yes, she has more experience than me since she has been doing this longer, but we are equals. I am not a grad student or an undergrad lacky she needs to hover around and constantly teach. I'll ask for help (preferably NOT from her) if I need it.

But now here comes the problem... research scientist is semi-versed in a technique that I used extensively in grad school. Before I showed up in the lab, she was the go-to person to do these experiments, but now my boss has turned to me (especially since I came up with a really novel experiment using said techniques for our grant and the reviewers just about wet themselves when they saw it). Anyways, he wants me to redo, as he says "these other experiments since we now have an expert on [cool technique] in our lab" meaning me. I also came up with cool new idea that would, if it works, give us the definitive data we need to answer this long-standing question.

Of course, those previous experiments were done by research scientist. And of course, when I asked her about the procedures for securing time/training on really cool equipment at the University's facilities, she knew exactly what experiment I was doing. She now thinks that all of here experiments before are beautiful and publishable and all we need is my key experiment (which by the way, she has verbalized that she has no idea how I came up with the idea and she didn't-I kid you not). So now, we are meeting on Monday morning to go through her data (which I haven't seen because she was pretty secretive about it all- she is really protective of her experiments so that you cannot jump on the paper but wants to know/contribute to everyone else's data in the hopes that she can jump on your paper). So here I am stuck with her telling me how fantastic her data is and how my boss wants me to redo all of it.

And she is running with my experiment. After googling it (I shit you not) she comes running in my lab "Oh, this will work! I can't believe I didn't think of this. I can't believe you thought of this and I didn't think of it..." for about 10 minutes. She then proceeds to ask me when "we" are going to run this experiment and can "we" start at 9:30 in the morning (since she has to drop her kids off at daycare- mind you I get into the lab at 7:30) and then I can watch her do the experiment and then finish it when she leaves at 2:30 (to pick her kids up).

What's this we shit? This is my idea. My baby. My favorite protein. I came up with this, let me fucking run with it. Stay away! But I can't say that. If I do, her feelings will get hurt and she will come into the lab, telling me how she was the one who suggested to boss man to put me on this project, how she was the one who told him this would be a great project for me. Its like I owe her for telling him to give me this project (not that she had the time to work on it-so it wasn't a matter of her giving anything up), that my hard work and busting my ass to get out a paper, write a grant and a fellowship, all that shit means nothing. It was all her. Maybe I should bring her flowers every week as a thank you for having the insight to mention to my boss that this would be a good project for me.

I just needed to rant and get my shit together for Monday. I hate confrontation (I know, get over it) but this is now getting ridiculous. Suck it up, act like the PI-in-training that you are and tell everyone to BACK off!