I’ve been thinking the last couple of days about how I measure progress at work. Being employed as a technician, it’s logical that my success would be measured by the number of publications I turn out, or at least the number of projects I complete.
I have a habit of trying to work on several things at once, with the logic being that maybe something will pan out or lead me in a fruitful direction. I take good notes, and my lab notebook is stuffed with the loose paper of journal articles, product information, descriptions of techniques and the like. I hit my “full” mark in that regard a couple of days ago and have since pulled out the non-essentials and put them in folders that live at my desk but that I can take to the lab with me.
In looking over what I’ve worked on for the last 6 months, mostly trying to develop more DNA markers to tell closely-related mosquito species apart, I have made no progress. I see some interesting bits, but have run into a brick wall, not knowing what to do when something looks promising, but yet doesn’t amplify in every specimen that it’s supposed to.
I need to figure out who I can go to for help in this regard. I’m the only one doing this kind of thing here, so I’ll have to sniff around back at school and see if someone can hold my hand for a bit. This annoys me, and makes me feel like I’m spinning my wheels, but needs to be done. Otherwise my job will consist merely of processing specimens, with nothing new, no discoveries. That would suck.