Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Oh, crappy day.

I just had one of those days.

Lots of stupid annoying things happened. Nothing huge, but a lot of straws on the camel's back. People were rude and/or condescending. Experiments didn't work and I will have to do them over. People I hate got things I wanted. I did good deeds and wondered why, because it wasn't particularly rewarding.

I don't want to write another one of those downer, droopy-faced blog posts where I whine (yes, I do read your comments before I delete them) about how much it sucks to be a postdoc, and so on and so forth. But in case you were wondering, yes, it still sucks.

Tomorrow I will get up and put one foot in front of the other, and who knows what will happen.

The last few weeks have been really kind of strange, with lots of unexpected things both good and bad. In the end, I guess it all evens out, but I feel like I'm on a really bumpy road in the back of pickup truck as the sun is going down, and it is getting dark and cold outside.

I'm getting somewhere, but I can't really see where I'm going, and my ass hurts.

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At 9:56 AM, Blogger lbeer said...

I'm wondering how many other female postdocs have to deal with a total lack of respect from graduate students. And how do you deal with it when they say, "I don't thing anyone deserves any more respect because they are a postdoc," in front of the PI and he says nothing? The reality is that there isn't much that one can do at this point is there? What do you do when you start getting accused of not being able to "get along" because you try to tell someone they've crossed a boundary and they say you are hostile? As a postdoc, I get screamed at, sworn at -just for simply asking someone do their assigned lab duties. There is no recourse, except getting fed up and ignoring people - but then you aren't "getting along" are you? It's also starting to hail as the sun sets in the back of that pick up truck so your head hurts to keep your ass company.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger yolio said...

At least you have a good excuse to drink. ;-)

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...


Yes, exactly! I'm reading one of those books right now on negotiation that seems to be written only for men. Many of the tactics recommended (in this highly rated, very popular book) have backfired on me in exactly the ways you describe. That's sexism.

And you're absolutely right about the hail. My head hurts, too.

At 3:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which book?

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the topic of postdocs getting respect from students and techs:

I think this is the Catch-22 of professional life. Be a nice, collaborative, friendly person, and you will not gain respect from others in the lab. Be an asshole/bitch, and you may be respected, but you won't be liked. I'm sure there is a healthy medium somewhere, but I have yet to find it.

By the way, I'm a guy, I don't think this issue is specific to women by any means.

At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is bullshit. You deserve more respect as a postdoc because you went to the trouble of actually getting a PhD, spending 5-7 years working your ass off, becoming an expert in your field. As opposed to snotty student/technician X, who thinks they know everything.

Also, if you are routinely yelled/swore at, that comprises abuse. Report the offending party (or alternatively yell/swear back at them). Bullies often back down when responded to in kind.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger mojo said...

Yeah, giraffe language, 7 habits, etc. Blah blah blah. Doesn't work when someone's personal problems become a deluge of insults and criticisms and personal insults because they didn't wash their dishes.

I know this topic has been discussed ad nauseum but it's making me crazy.

Why is kindness mistaken for weakness? Why do women become targets when there is any conflict any bad day by anyone? Why does it become open season because she can then be labeled a bitch or hostile. And IF you try to stand up for yourself or state a boundary you are argumentative and not a team player. If it were a guy "He's a stud who doesn't take any shit" Most PI's, don't even want to contemplate that this is a real problem and that their own attitudes and actions are at the heart of it.

This is most frustrating.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Kea said...

I'm wondering how many other female postdocs have to deal with a total lack of respect from graduate students.

Well, you're certainly not alone with the stud male grad sucking up to the PI by criticising the only female postdoc, and having the PI nod in agreement because stud grad probably filed a complaint about him (and he was probably told to behave more nicely towards asshole stud grad) ... and same asshole stud grad entertaining women next to where female postdoc is trying to work ...

Yeah, yeah, been there, done that. So much for harrassment laws ... can't do much about it if they don't actually stab you, pinch you, rape you or yell abuse.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kea, I hate to say this because it doesn't make me feel better to know that I'm "not alone" with this stuff and have a colleague at a very conservative school who is deep in a harassment claim at the moment.

Stud-boy/bully will get some great position because he's well, Stud-boy, and half of us will leave science totally because if being "one of the guys" is what is required to get resepct, you can most certainly count me out.

My armchair psychoanalysis based on my situation and the persons involved is this: The ones who respect their Mothers, treat me and other females appropriately and fairly. The ones who have mentioned that they aren't fond of their mothers and don't really respect them, treat us with contempt and have screwed up boundaries with respect to professional behavior.

It's total bull. Abuse is abuse. Being insulted, yelled at, creating a hostile environment is abuse and the reason they do it in front of other people is because it gives them power (at least they think it does). The best route is to go with the rules -they hate this. If unauthorized people (the females being entertained) are in your workspace, say something/report it that you have a workspace and it is being violated for safety reasons or bring up at group meeting that the office is not for personal parties, it is a place to work quietly. Do it in front of other people as long as you can stay be a Fonzie about it. There is no good argument and he'll look silly trying. If you can get another male with seniority to back you up, do it. It usually gets worse before it gets better with these types because they'll grasp at control so STAY STRONG (go home and move furniture to let off steam) and keep on truckin'.

At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And IF you try to stand up for yourself or state a boundary you are argumentative and not a team player.

Yup. My postdoc advisor wanted me to be almost exclusively a tech for his favorite postdoc. the other postdoc was favored because he had been a student PI's close collabator whereas I had no prior connection to the PI. Also, the Favored Postdoc was a guy and I'm female. So, wanting to be a good employee I did the tech work for about a year and a half then asked to be allowed to do my own independent project too just like the Favored Postdoc (who by now had published high impact papers with me doing the grunt work for him). PI reacted by firing me on the grounds that I was "not a team player." Meanwhile, Favored Postdoc went on to get a very nice faculty position.


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