It’s always difficult when newbie trainees start work in the lab. They’re bright eyed, bushy tailed, full of energy and itching to sink their teeth into some science. At the same, they’re usually a tad freaked out at the animals, the expensive machines that go PING!, the chemicals that smell like dead fish and the stuff that breaks easily.
A few months down the track, however, and they’re old hands with their protocols. They can recognize when things go wrong and fix them. Multi-tasking starts to become the norm. They begin to learn how to critically analyze their work.
But as soon as the PI mentions that she’s taking a vacation, all hell breaks loose.
How will they function without you?
What should they work on while you’re gone?
What if something goes wrong?
How will they interpret their data?
Will you be able to be reached by phone or email in the event that they have questions?
OMFG!!1!!! We’re all screwed!11!!ELEVENTY!11!!!!!
As a PI, one needs to have trust in one’s trainees. Trust that they won’t destroy the lab while you're gone. Trust that they’ll continue with their experiments and generate supercool data. Trust that they’ll use their initiative to continue to develop their projects. Trust that they'll pull together and help each other if something goes awry.
Sigh. And hope like hell they don’t burn the place down.
For Beth, who is my friend
6 hours ago