Rodney Dangerfield Disease: I don't get no respect.
It bugs me when I help someone with their project
and I say "You need to do X, Y and Z because it would tell us if it's A, B or C"
and then they go talk to Famous PI Guy who says
This is very interesting! It is probably A, B or C.
and then they come back and report to me that
"Famous Guy said it's probably A, B or C!"
like it's news and I'm going to be impressed with this Famous Guy's unique insight.
And I don't know whether it was mentioned to Famous Guy that I was helping them, and suggested not just the same idea, but how to actually test it, too.
I understand that the reality of the system is that you have to go talk to a big famous PI, maybe even make them an author, if you want your paper to get published in a big famous journal. I get that. And you have to make them feel included, even if it means pretending they gave you great advice that you had already heard before.
What annoys me is when the person I'm helping doesn't say,
"Hey, I know we talked about talking to Famous Guy, I'm going to go meet with Famous Guy this week and just see what he says about what we've done so far",
you know, just to keep the lines of communication open
And the report afterwards is never, ever,
"Hey, he said just what you said! It's good to know we're on the right track and thank you again for all your help and I made sure to tell him how much you've done for this project."
It makes me wonder why I bother helping anyone?
I guess I bother because I enjoy it, the journey anyway, even if the end product helps someone else a lot more than it helps me, they did more of the work so that's fair.
And I do get little benefits here and there, exchange of reagents and that sort of thing does go more easily when you have lots of good will.
But there's nothing to make me feel stepped on more than the total lack of acknowledgment for my ideas. Maybe because it's the only currency that really matters to me.
I guess people like to use money as a reward, for example, in industry, because this is one way of acknowledging input. But I wouldn't want to get paid off, for example, in exchange for not being an author.
But for now I'm going to hold onto my idealistic hope that this person I've been helping will at least make me a co-author in the end, and that seeing this paper and this person succeed will be reward enough? That I will eventually have this person as a colleague, who will be more secure and more gracious in the future?
That when it's all said and done, I'll be proud to have been associated with this project, even if nobody really knows how much.