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Contentious C

Wherein one prays for a localized meteor strike

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So some of the stories from the "Just Stuff" thread dredged up my previous job situation, and I felt like I - and I'm sure many of you - could use a space to describe "That FUCKING PERSON" at work who just takes your last nerve out on the front lawn, douses it in kerosene, sets it on fire, and then says, "This shit is your fault". Because I feel if you haven't been there in the workplace, then you're either not eligible to work due to child labor laws, or you're dead inside. And even 11-year-olds probably know that fucking kid they hate working with. So, no names, no specifics that make it too specific - just let it out.

I just finished up a Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology back in April, and my adviser, while a great guy, was one of those "nice to the point of a fault" types, and it meant he took on another student in Feb. 2016. And that student...he's This guy.  This fucking guy I had to tolerate for a year and a half. This fucking guy Would. Not. Shut. Up.

He would ask you a question about how something works, and when you try to explain it to him, he ignores the fact that he asked the damned question in the first place and just blathers on - talking directly over you each and every time - about his own ideas, because apparently he thought the phrase "thinking out loud" was a lifelong invitation, instead of a description. And then when you tell him something that needs fixing - usually some shit he's doing completely, demonstrably wrong - he would dismiss that because doing it correctly was too inconvenient. And there really is no such thing in wet bench science. The only shortcut to the job is accepting that there are no shortcuts, because it will stop you from being a lazy moron who screws things up for months or years. But not this fucking guy. This fucking guy couldn't tell the difference between an experiment that worked because of him versus one that worked in spite of him, and if there's ever the sort of person who shouldn't be a career researcher, it's exactly that person.

I think the real shit-icing on the shit-cake that got baked in the turd oven for me was that, after I defended, I stayed on for a few more months to wrap up my last publication. We had a safety inspection during that time, and I had gotten on everyone's case in the lab repeatedly for throwing particular plastic items in the regular trash, because they were sharps hazards. And that was typically met with lazy bullshit like, "Oh, but the other labs do it all the time, so it must be OK." The inspector comes through, and this brain donor asks her,

Brain Donor: "So should we dispose of these more carefully?"

Her: "Yeah, better safe than sorry - they're a sharps hazard." (I'm making my shocked face.)

Brain Donor: "Oh, OK. I asked because another student in the lab is really particular about this."

Arrrrrrghrazafrazagghrh.

The one solace I take away from it is knowing that everyone else from his class, to a person, cannot fucking stand him, either. And that, as with literally everything he does, he will be the last person in the room to catch on. 

I'm so happy I'm not there anymore. But, I would, if I believed in such things, still make a good-faith attempt to call down some lightning, or a passing meteor, or even a golf-ball-sized hailstorm in a very specific area to just...just do the world a damn favor.

So, who's yours?

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First of all. CONGRATS ON YOUR STEM PH. D THAT IS FUCKING AWESOME~!

There are one or two oxygen thieves here at my office that I absolutely hate working with, but I am not so self important to think that I probably don't rank high on someone else's shit list either. 

Normally the guy who thinks that everyone loves him is the guy that ranks the highest on the general consensus ass beating list.

So what if he's a dick?  You are a fucking SCIENTIST with better things to dwell on.  The world needs people with your expertise and we're counting on smart dudes like you to kick Alzheimer's in the groin or something.

If you are spiritually inclined, pray for his well being rather than a meteor and he may just get his shit together one day. 

If he doesn't, at least you know what to expect from him, right?

 

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Thanks, and fair points, J.T.

I wouldn't call the guy a dick. More like he flat-out has the wrong mentality to be a scientist. For most of us, when something goes wrong, the first - and best - question is, "What did I do wrong?" And it's usually some fixable, easy sort of thing that takes no time and makes you feel dumb for having bollocksed it in the first place. And there's a smaller subset who are crazy/paranoid and think "What did someone else do to my experiment?" Though, that being said, there have been some high-profile instances of sabotaging labmates at major universities.

But this guy is more like, "Oh, that didn't work. I guess the entire protocol - that half a dozen other people wrote, refined, and troubleshot for a combined 3 decades between them - must be wrong, so I'm going to skip entire steps because I think I can be 'efficient' and 'creative'." And then wonders why it didn't work. At one point early on, we had him doing the same general task for a good 3 months straight, with little variation, and he never did it the same way twice or figured anything out for himself that wasn't a shit idea. Since that time, he's been doing quite literally the easiest possible thing there was to do in that lab - stuff that I could train my parents how to do in a couple of weeks, tops - but, like I said, didn't comprehend the difference between "because of me" and "in spite of me". 

I think what chaps the collective asses of his graduate school class and those of us who had to tolerate him is that he may very well get grandfathered through a lot of stuff he doesn't deserve and end up with a degree anyway. He still has to take his quals, and the only real hope there is that he fails them and is summarily booted out. If he doesn't...well, then any degree he gets cheapens the one I just got, because I wouldn't hire him to mow my lawn. So much for the illusion of meritocracies.

And am I on people's shit lists? Oh, for sure. But that's because I choose to put myself on them. In the words of Ray Velcoro, I welcome judgment.

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Now, I was a lowly theatre major, but even I know doing things the same way each time is one of the fucking cornerstones of science.

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10 hours ago, Contentious C said:

But this guy is more like, "Oh, that didn't work. I guess the entire protocol - that half a dozen other people wrote, refined, and troubleshot for a combined 3 decades between them - must be wrong, so I'm going to skip entire steps because I think I can be 'efficient' and 'creative'." And then wonders why it didn't work..

Yeah, he is batshit insane.  As Fowler said, the whole point of the scientific method is to be so repetitive and precise as to remove all x-factors from the equation so that you can properly examine all controls.

Even we hackers work on the Sherlock Holmes principle of eliminating the impossible and the highly unlikely, so that we are left with reasonable variables that we can effectively troubleshoot any anomalies we encounter. 

If you see that the dead body at the crime scene is riddled with bullets, you can probably rule out knives as the murder weapon and Occam's Razor will save you from the paralysis of over-analysis.

It is only the foolish consistency that is the proverbial hobgoblin of little minds.  Process refinement is the key that marries effectiveness with efficiency.

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Can we redirect the meator's at the Walton's and the Wal-Mart boars for their actions the last 24 hours?

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14 hours ago, Raziel403 said:

Can we redirect the meator's at the Walton's and the Wal-Mart boars for their actions the last 24 hours?

Indeed.  I had some good-sized meteor wishes for a dipshit co-worker, but I'll gladly divert those to Wal-Mart for the bullshit they pulled.  Toss in AT&T while we're at it for the shit they pulled as well.

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Is that a meteor-sized problem? Because to me that sounds more "gigantic asteroid should Pac-Man the bejesus out of Earth"-sized. Though, honestly...yeah, those fucking guys, too.

(Not to insinuate all the people making those choices are men, per se - just the phrase rolls off the ol' brain-tongue better when it's 'guys'.)

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