Friday, October 16, 2009

So, my work. I've really been enjoying it. I've learned a couple new techniques and have been participating in some exciting research projects. The good post-doc and coworker are intelligent and a lot of fun to work with. Bad post-doc, who I've started calling Dr. Evil and her helper, Mini Me have been tolerable, although we get the feeling that discord is brewing.

Things weren't so great a couple of months ago. Dr. Evil and Mini Me were up to their old tricks of trying to monopolize lab equipment and acting surly toward the rest of us. We implemented an online calendar shortly after Good Coworker arrived, to help resolve conflicts over scheduling high demand equipment. The rest of us do well with it, but Dr. Evil has a habit of ignoring the calendar, just plain not using it, or running over into other peoples' time. It all came to a head when Good Coworker scheduled several days on the equipment (a month in advance). Dr. Evil suddenly decided she needed to do a time-limited study the week Good Coworker was supposed to use it. She had already been warned by Big Boss not to get nasty with Good Coworker, so she sent Mini Me to do her bidding. A couple of heated exchanges followed, overheard by me. Mini Me threatened to take it to Big Boss and Good Coworker agreed that was a good idea. Good Coworker was able to speak to Big Boss first and explained the situation. Mini Me sent a pointed email to Big Boss explaining how unreasonable Good Coworker was and that they had an IMPORTANT TIME LIMITED EXPERIMENT TO RUN (all of our experiments are time-dependent to some point, but nevermind that). Big boss replied and forwarded to reply to everyone and basically asked us to cooperate with one another. By that point, Good Post-doc had enough. He'd been bumped by Dr. Evil numerous times and had always let it slide. He wrote anamazing response basically stating that the whole point of the calendar was to avoid such conflicts, that he was tired of others in the lab not respecting the calendar, that all our experiments are important, that disregard of the calendar had resulted in sub-optimal experiments for him, and lack of planning was the fault of the planner and should not be an excuse to upset everyone else's experiments.

At that point, Big Boss realized how bad the problem was and scheduled a lab meeting. He was preparing to go out of town on a family emergency, so the meeting was to be a short one at the end of the day. He clearly stated that he wanted to discuss projects first and then we'd get onto other issues. Dr. Evil immediately started yelling about the scheduling issue. Big Boss shut her down, told her not to raise her voice, and that we'd get to that after discussing projects. The meeting quickly devolved into her again griping about how the rest of us shouldn't even be using that piece of equipment since it's in a special area designated for the research she does. I guess she forgot that Good Coworker works on the same project. Big Boss corrected her and stated that all our equipment is for the whole lab's use. Then she went on about Good Post-docs email and how it offended her by calling into question her scientific capabilities. (He never named any names). She then tried to blame Good Coworker for the heated conversation with Mini Me. I chimed in that I overheard the exchange and that Mini Me wasn't using a very nice tone and that we all need to be respectful to one another. (Something the two of them are not.) Yeah, it was entertaining.

I did not want to go into work the next day with Big Boss gone and not knowing if Dr. Evil still had a big chip on her shoulder. It turned out OK. She avoided/ignored Good Coworker for a couple weeks after that and was surprisingly nice to me - I think she realized Big Boss and I were on the same side and it wasn't a good idea to treat me the way she treats Good Coworker. Mini Me pointedly gave the rest of us the silent treatment for a few weeks (which none of us minded).

Things have slowly gotten back to normal. For now.

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