Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The new guy

This is a post about work, not dating. :-)

Our lab is kind of small, although I've got a nice amount of space to work in that is mine alone. When I first started, there were four of us sharing a very small space. So small we had to schedule around each other just to have a flat surface to prepare and run our samples. My boss supervises other PI's (that's Principal Investigator) and each of them have one or two people working in the lab, with similar amounts of personal work space.

One of these PI's has had a new technician start recently. I suppose he's gone through college. I'm not sure he's worked in a lab before. An important aspect of working in shared space is to put your stuff away. Now some of this, I'm pretty sure, is the nature of his supervisor, who is even more hands-off than mine in terms of management style. Still, I think I'll have to talk to him about lab etiquette. Soon.

I worked yesterday (which was the government holiday) so that I could take Friday off and keep Mr W to a minimum of day care over his school break. I enter the lab and the lab computer is locked up because he didn't exit and log off properly. Fine, that happens (although it's more likely to happen when one is trying to get out of there in a hurry. I know how that goes, too). His lab notebook was left on top of the calendar we use to sign up for time on some equipment. He's left his bottle of ethanol by the sink. He's left the ice scoop inside the ice machine (so it gets covered by the new ice being made and makes the next user have to dig around in the ice to get the scoop). The tissue grinder I use to grind up mosquitoes before extracting DNA is somehow moved out of the hood where it's been for a year, onto another tech's bench.

I feel like hanging one of those signs that says, "Your mother doesn't work here. You'll have to clean up after yourself"

It's funny how much this has irked me. I guess it's because I try hard to take care of that shared space and put things away. The way I look at it, if I keep my area neat, and keep track of my stuff, it reduces the amount of uncertainty in a process where your samples may or may not turn out how you want. It's so clear to me that one would want to be systematic about doing lab work, and he doesn't have that perspective yet.

So, we'll see how this goes. I'm not one to stew about this kind of thing silently, especially when it makes more work for me to put his stuff away.


  1. Gak, I don't see how your work situation CAN work without everyone following some of those basic rules. Immediately, I would question New Guy's ability to have what it takes to do accurate lab work. If he's irresponsible and just plain non-thinking enough to leave the mess he does, that speaks volumes to me regarding his general work habits. (Aren't you glad you didn't ask for my opinion on this situation?)

  2. Yup, we'll see how this unfolds. Glad I don't have to depend on him for any of my work results...


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.