Don't Check Email On Weekends!
Ugh, I broke my own rule today. I checked my email. I've been trying not to, since work-related emails generally piss me off.
Today I got a reply to an email I probably shouldn't have bothered sending.
A while back, someone requested one of my published reagents. Long story short, I had to scrounge some stuff together that I wasn't 100% sure would work, because it was old and I hadn't used it recently, and really didn't have time to make more for them, yada yada. I sent it with lots of apologies and disclaimers. They were kind of in a rush to get a paper out.
I was excited at the possibility of getting my paper cited, and helping someone out. I figured, it's always good if someone else can use your reagent and validate it. And I knew the reagent was good when I last used it. Very good.
Well of course I never heard from them, so I assumed it didn't work, but I was annoyed that they didn't let me know, so I emailed them to find out. This has happened to me before. People assume the stuff I do is trivial, so when it doesn't work immediately for them, they never ask me for help or consider that they might be doing something wrong!
In this case, it didn't work. It's clear from the email, since I asked, that they didn't understand what they were doing. And of course, they never asked me about it, or even let me know- I wouldn't have known until the paper came out!
Turns out they ended up getting a similar (probably more recently used) reagent from one of my "competitors" (whose reagent hasn't been published, btw).
Nice! Always better to go with the unpublished reagent.... right? NOT.
So now I'm pissed off. They were nice enough about it, but this won't do anything good for my reputation. And since I'm working on my grant update, it's not doing anything for my confidence.
Oh and let me say something about this "competitor". This is someone I had met when I was a grad student, and he was pretty nice at the time- when we were working on totally different things. Later, I asked if he wanted to collaborate, long before I had even started this project, because I had heard he was interested in doing something similar. He flatly refused to even tell me he was working on the same thing, which I knew because I had been told he presented it when he gave his job talks. Did he think it was some kind of secret, or for that matter, a unique idea?
What an asshole.
Ironically enough, I ended up publishing my stuff, and I think he still hasn't published anything. Small comfort since I'm sure his will be a Much Higher Impact Paper when it does come out, because he's got the sort of connections to ensure enough Big Names will be on his paper. And I'm sure people will enthusiastically cite it for that reason, while mine languishes in the One Hit Wonder section of the library.
Ugh. Bad enough to think about this stuff during the week, but I really could have done without it today.