Whining and dining
It's Saturday and I'm at my desk, blasting music to ward off the deathly silence of a mostly-empty building. My gels are transferring and incubating in antibody, my cells are growing, and I will be here until it's time for dinner & going out tonight. My feet hurt already and I have about 5 hours left to go, so I'm just happy to be sitting down. The only food I have with me is an apple, and there are no vending machines here.
Actually it is kind of nice, except that when I'm actually doing a lot of work, I am constantly finding broken equipment. I'm trying not to think too hard about why no one else noticed one of the gel boxes and stir plates aren't working, or if they just don't care. No matter what, it's a bit depressing since I'm always the one who needs to use the stuff. And because of the way things are set up here, I have very little control over any of it actually getting fixed.
I'm also avoiding one of the only other people who is here today. The last few days I've been listening to a lot of ranting about my advisor. From time to time, I have mentioned a few ridiculous things that she has said or done, but from my perspective, in general she has been nothing but encouraging and helpful to me. I know that she doesn't treat everyone equally. They all say she's nice to you at the beginning, and I haven't been here that long.
I don't want to tell them they can't talk to me, since I really do believe that talking about it generally helps alleviate some of the stress. If anything, I am a bit jealous that everyone here has each other to lean on, while I had nobody when I was being verbally abused by my thesis advisor. It is interesting to see how uniting against a common enemy brings everyone together. But it makes me really uncomfortable listening to these people bitch and moan about how horrible and mean she is.
I have made some headway in pointing out that all PIs say stupid or mean things sometimes, that if they didn't learn from this experience they would go on to be just as shocked when they find the same thing in their next lab. That there is really no such thing as the perfect advisor, or boss, in any field, and the few really great ones are very hard to find. And so on.
It is hard for me because I think my advisor and I have a lot in common. While we would both like to think I won't make all the same mistakes she has- she has freely admitted regretting some of the interpersonal conflicts she ignited as a young professor- naturally, I am terrified. The idea of being a PI and having everyone in my lab complaining about me behind my back... shades of elementary school come to mind. Or for that matter, anyone seen Mean Girls ?