Wednesday, March 31, 2010

advisor horror stories re: publishing

As per the latest post over at FSP, here are some relevant posts re: publishing troubles with unreasonable advisers.

Before submitting:

After you get the reviews:

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

The difference between respecting your mentors and BS-ing your way to the top

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who can't see shades of gray.

These binary-brains think that lack of ass-kissing equates with disrespect.

It does not equate.

Personally, I think that you respect your mentors enough if you take most of their advice, discuss it with them, argue back occasionally, but mostly seek and take their advice (granted, everyone has a subjective impression of what it means when we say "most")....

I've been thinking about this from the perspective of being a mentor as well as having mentors. Mostly, I prefer mentors who see through bullshit, who don't want their asses kissed and rubbed and polished.

Sadly, you can't always pick the people who have power over your career. They may not be mentors, but they may need a good butt-rub to get moving on your behalf.

Maybe you didn't realize what you were getting into; maybe you just overestimated your own ability to put up with it.

Or maybe, as has happened to me more than a few times, your mentors just disappointed you. You took their advice; it failed. They say they don't like bullshit, but they fall for the brown-nosing from the guy at the bench next to yours (even when it's patently obvious to the objective observer that it's not sincere, just a well-acted manipulation tactic).

So I don't like it when my mentees, or anyone for that matter, give me false compliments in an effort to win my favor or recommendation. I say no, I won't write that letter for you, and please, stop trying to butter me up. I'm not a muffin, cupcake.

But sometimes I do wonder if my mentors know how much I genuinely appreciate their efforts, especially the ones who really gave me advice in good faith, tried to encourage me, and sure yeah, maybe none of it worked out like we hoped.

Every once in a while I'll send them a card or an email and just say Thanks, I appreciate it.

To suggest that doing more than that is actually necessary, even required, for success, just means the quality of people in science is rather low.

Seems to support the idea that science is full of insecure liars who can't tell the difference between a fake compliment and a real one.

And what does that say about their ability to evaluate any other kind of data?

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

think I'm gonna hurl

Don't focus on demonstrating your own brilliance. Focus instead on expressing genuine interest in your mentor's brilliance

or as my blog women-tors would say, puke on their shoes.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

poor turnout for NPA and Gender Summit

This is really weak. For the so-called National Postdoc Association, attendance at the Annual Meeting was really, really low. Last I heard, we have something like 90,000 postdocs in this country, and about half are women. So tell me WTF is up with this?

The NPA's 8th Annual Meeting, held last week, was attended by a record crowd of more than 275 persons. Important discussions took place that will affect the work of the NPA and its members and friends for months to come. The first-ever National Summit on Gender and the Postdoctorate also took place and was attended by nearly 140 persons.

Also, am I the only one who thinks there might be a grammatical error in using "persons" in a clunky passive voice instead of just saying "275 people attended"?

I mean, seriously. That's like 0.3%, if we believe we know the total number of postdocs as the denominator. WEAK.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

should I change the name of the blog?

I've been thinking for a while about book titles. Something like Former Female Wannabe Scientist, PhD?

This post over at Drugmonkey seems to imply I've never been a science blogger, at least according to the people who commented there.

That pretty much sums up how I feel right now: marginalized, muffled, and invisible.

Funny how at one point I was so concerned about being outed! Maybe not something worth worrying about after all.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

that fits - now I'll have to look her up

took this silly quiz by way of GrrlScientist.

I am:
James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice B. Sheldon)
In the 1970s she was perhaps the most memorable, and one of the most popular, short story writers. Her real life was as fantastic as her fiction.

Which science fiction writer are you?

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Go give NIGMS an earful on "training"

Posted by Jeremy Berg on Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010 10:29 AM EST

I’m proud of NIGMS’ long and strong commitment to research training and biomedical workforce development. As biomedical research and its workforce needs evolve, we want to be sure that our training and career development activities most effectively meet current demands, anticipate emerging opportunities and help build a highly capable, diverse biomedical research workforce.

To this end, we are beginning to develop a strategic plan focused on research training and career development, and we want your input.

Between March 2 and April 21, you can anonymously submit comments at

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