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how to deal with bad co-workers


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#1 lotus

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 03:21 PM

I have a masters degree and have worked for the past 2.5 years as a technician in research labs. I quit my Ph.D in teh middle and settled for a masters because I didn't have the patience or the strength of mind to plod through the PhD. I don't have a single publication so far. I do have a lot of varied lab experience and my supervisors have always been satisfied with my intelligence and scientific thinking.
In my present lab, about 70% of my time is consumed by ordering and other administrative duties. My boss is a sweet guy, but too nice sometimes- he doesn't /can't maintain discipline and control over the lab. We recently got a new student and a new post-doc a couple months back. They are the laziest, most irritating pair of jerks around. Understandably, they have stuck together like a pair of siamese twins. They talk loudly, their english sucks, they are totally arrogant and incredibly lazy. I have complained to my boss a couple of times, but he just won't open his mouth to correct them. he expects me to be the lab doormat and put up with everything. I am thinking of leaving my job, but I wonder if a science career is for me. After all, I don't have a single paper and how much can I accomplish as a technician doing 'support' tasks? But I am not trained for any other career.
The two jerks treat me like teh lab servant. they don't want to lift a finger and try to get others to do as much of work as possible. For example, they tried their best to get me to make media, plates and competent cells for their work. They even purchase a lot of fancy equipment to 'simplify' their tasks as much a spossible, like fancy cloning kits, a new centrifuge on their bench because they are too lazy to walk to the existing one and new pipettes in multiple ranges. It all brings to mind the old saying that 'a bad workman blames his tools'. They are not very bright and need to look up every single thing, but they are trying to make up for that by burying themselves under expensive and unnecessary equipment.
I feel that my boss is ungrateful to me after all the work I have put in for him. When he started his new lab, I joined him and I ordered every single thing and set up teh lab from scratch. Now he throws me over in favour of a pair of new incompetent nincompoops. He doesn't trust my word over theirs. What shall I do?

#2 casandra

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 08:59 PM

I have a masters degree and have worked for the past 2.5 years as a technician in research labs. I quit my Ph.D in teh middle and settled for a masters because I didn't have the patience or the strength of mind to plod through the PhD. I don't have a single publication so far. I do have a lot of varied lab experience and my supervisors have always been satisfied with my intelligence and scientific thinking.
In my present lab, about 70% of my time is consumed by ordering and other administrative duties. My boss is a sweet guy, but too nice sometimes- he doesn't /can't maintain discipline and control over the lab. We recently got a new student and a new post-doc a couple months back. They are the laziest, most irritating pair of jerks around. Understandably, they have stuck together like a pair of siamese twins. They talk loudly, their english sucks, they are totally arrogant and incredibly lazy. I have complained to my boss a couple of times, but he just won't open his mouth to correct them. he expects me to be the lab doormat and put up with everything. I am thinking of leaving my job, but I wonder if a science career is for me. After all, I don't have a single paper and how much can I accomplish as a technician doing 'support' tasks? But I am not trained for any other career.
The two jerks treat me like teh lab servant. they don't want to lift a finger and try to get others to do as much of work as possible. For example, they tried their best to get me to make media, plates and competent cells for their work. They even purchase a lot of fancy equipment to 'simplify' their tasks as much a spossible, like fancy cloning kits, a new centrifuge on their bench because they are too lazy to walk to the existing one and new pipettes in multiple ranges. It all brings to mind the old saying that 'a bad workman blames his tools'. They are not very bright and need to look up every single thing, but they are trying to make up for that by burying themselves under expensive and unnecessary equipment.
I feel that my boss is ungrateful to me after all the work I have put in for him. When he started his new lab, I joined him and I ordered every single thing and set up teh lab from scratch. Now he throws me over in favour of a pair of new incompetent nincompoops. He doesn't trust my word over theirs. What shall I do?

hey lotus,

I understand you're so frustrated right now so let me just remind you of a tried and true universal rule: every lab has a jerk and you're very lucky to have two, really :lol:...actually we've had similar discussions here in the forum before i.e..what to do with: the colleagues from hell, bosses who refuse to resolve lab conflicts and the lab's pecking order (whom shld the PI give more priority to- the tech staff or the students/ post-docs) all of these issues are very tricky......so take it easy, you're not alone and your situation's not hopeless. If you think that your boss doesn't trust your word, don't you have other more senior co-workers who might back you up? For sure, someone else would have had noticed the laziness and incompetence of those two and eventually, it would not be only you who'd be affected but the entire lab as well. Perhaps, if the other people speak up, then your boss would stop turning a blind eye and try to resolve this problem. Or hopefully the new people would improve with time esp if they've been made aware that they have a problem. I know it's hard but you've to give them this chance too. If the problem persists though, then you have to consider your other options seriously...meanwhile, try to keep cool.....goodluck.
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#3 lab rat

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 09:37 PM

Hey lotus,

Welcome to the world of lab techs. Cassandra's right: we have all encountered this at some point in our careers, or will. The only thing you can change is your response to the situation.

If you really can't take the situation, put the word out to as many people as possible that you're in the market for a new position. It sounds like you have a positive history with your boss, so be upfront and tell him that you are looking for opportunities elsewhere. Tell him that you're waiting for a solid offer, and that you'll give him plenty of notice.

If he acts injured, just tell him it's not personal--you are not deriving as much personal satisfaction from your current responsibilities as you would like. You're looking to develop professionally, and this position isn't giving you that. This leaves him an opening to make a change, whether it is inclusion in manuscript development or grant writing, or a reclassification, etc.. A bump up in classification at this place, even for only a year, will boost your chances at getting a better job somewhere else. Since a PI is married to his students and post-docs for their duration, for better or worse, the personnel issue isn't a viable bargaining chip.

If he says, "Fine, leave," don't look back. Defining your reason for leaving as a professional-satisfaction issue will eliminate potential negative comments in his recommendation. (i.e. you don't work well with others)

regards,

lab rat
42..."An immutable fixed-precision number of unlimited magnitude." <a href="http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)</a>, accessed 25June2009.




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