Inspired by PiT’s recent post regarding fixing the postdoc experience. A bit delayed, but I have a good excuse...postdoc interview...and got a offer...yeah!!! Celebrating by drinking wine and eating cookies, so I hope this post makes sense:)
Anyways, what I find so interesting about PiT’s post is: 1) dead on! All proposed approaches are very proactive and doable, even on an individual basis. 2) Not surprised, but a bit put off by the many pessimistic responses. And this point is bigger than just the PiT comment board. In general, if you just want to bitch...declare “just venting”, I think that’s very fair...we all need to exhale (really hard) sometimes. But if someone is bringing suggestions to the table, to just bitch and say it’s not going to work, then have NOTHING to offer...well that’s not very helpful either is it?
Where do I get off dissing the pessimists? It’s just not in my nature to bitch and bitch and have nothing to offer. I’m currently leaving a lab were nothing I did worked. It has been my first and hardest lesson at realizing that some problems just don’t have a solution. But I didn’t give up on being progressive in other ways. While option A was clearly a loss, I wasn’t willing to give up on options B and C. And I’m so glad I didn’t. Without them, I would not have the Dean of the College of Science as a reference, I would not have been able to network my way into interviews that I normally never would have scored since my PI is such an asshole and unwilling to write a letter of support.
Bottom line, it’s all up to me. So if I have the opportunity and option to try some of the suggestions poised by PiT...you bet your ass I’m going to try. Because if I can help it...if I have any say in the matter...I refuse to be the same asshole who supposedly raised this confident female scientist!
Relevant reading: The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. Robert Sutton. Great book and fun read.
Now, I love any book that contains either shit, fuck or ass somewhere in the title! Secondly, is the story told by the author following a visit from a big wig in the field, being highly sought after for their open faculty position. The part I really like, was when the faculty met to discuss if they should extend an offer. The room was silent for a moment, until one voice in the back spoke up and said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think we can afford the consequences of hiring an asshole...” (not the exact quote, but close). From that point on, subsequent to all interviews, they would gather and vote if the individual passed their new “no asshole rule”.
I have a great friend, Greenhouse Diva (GD) who works for an engineering co., She has her PhD and a great new job. Small issue with one of her bosses. An older women who for whatever reason hates GD! Personality issue from day one. Well the other day this boss pulled GD aside to an empty office and began screaming at her. She was supposedly so worked up she was shaking and just lost it...was threatening her job, and just totally freaked.
I can’t help but to think about this situation, about all my crazy moments with my PI and I wonder what it takes to be in a workplace that is normal. What can I do? One of my first blog posts involved the question “what would you do, given the following absurd situation”.
So what did GD do while being screamed at in an empty office? DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS....that’s what she did. She was so pissed at her boss and at herself.
What would you do? If you could be prepared for this possibility and it was happening to you, how would you address the enraged boss?
CFS: “The first mistake you made was shoving us in a room with no witness, the second is screaming like a rabid banshee...Back off, get the fuck out of my face, and never do this again. I expect from this point on that you behave like a fucking adult and a “professional”....Capice?!
Yes, I love to prepare for all scenarios. I’m so sorry for GD. She is a wonderful women, a crazy intelligent professional and bottom line no one deserves to be treated that way. Nobody should have to endure working for or with “tyrannical assholes”...as PiT points out....do something to change it. Even if it’s just you and your little lab. Make efforts to sway change in your departments and just try to make changes in your field. Just try.
1 year ago