Have you ever noticed that manners, even common decency, seems to have left the building?
Now, granted, those of the nerdy type are not known world wide for their people skills. Asocial, quiet, studious, and “who? that person that sits up front and never talks?” are all sentiments associated with those of the scientific or academic-minded persuasion. And that is fine.
But none of those traits is an excuse for some of the down right rudeness when it comes to the lab community. In a group of peers and like minded individuals you should not be so nervous about discourse, and you should attempt to be polite and courteous to your fellow lab mates. After all you are going to be spending the next several years with these people and all will go much better if everyone, at the very least, does not hate each other. Preferably you all get along, but I know they let morons into grad school to. Also, still no reason to be rude.
Rules to survivng the lab.
1) Alert people when things need to be ordered. When you notice that a reagent/kit/solution that other people in the lab use TELL PEOPLE! This is WHY we have the “To be ordered” board in the first place! So you can write things down, or *gasp* reorder them yourself! If you are the only one that uses it, and you reach for it and it is not there, that is your own fault. If several people use something and we checked it Friday and there was enough, then go to use it on Saturday and you used it all we will not be friends. I may TP your lab bench.
2) Don’t hoard. I know it may seem like it, but I promise, we can order more stuff. There is no need for you to stash tips, gloves, media, chemicals, or wathever else like a derranged squirrle in the fall. Plus you hoarding means we have to reorder things more often. Which is also why you probably need to follow rule number 1.
3) Re-stock the shelves. I checked my contract. I am not the lab’s restocker. I know you are not either. But somehow the flasks have to get from the storage room to the common area where we use stuff, and the Magic Flask Moving Fairy is on vacation in the Bahamas. If you use the last of something RE-STOCK it. I promise- it will work out that we all restock the shelves a few times in our time here. It will not be just your job if we all take turns. Also, when you go to restock something and you notice we only have a box left, SEE RULE 1!!
4) Don’t make lab meeting go on longer than it has to. Really. No one needs a blow by blow of everything you have done since the last meeting. We need to know what, in general, you are doing and how it will be effecting the rest of the lab. Are you using something dangerous? Will you be using a high amount of a particular item that we need to make sure stays in stock (see rule 1)? When it looks like you are never here are you really somewhere else working? This should really take 5-10 minutes. Trust me, the Boss will ask questions. But when you take 20-30 minutes to explain something we all want to kill you. This is especially true when lab meeting is Friday afternoon.
5) Put things back where they go. If it is a communally used item it has a home. Make sure it returns to it’s home. Not a shelf above, nor below, not to the left, nor the right, nor out in the middle of the bench. PUT IT BACK IN ITS HOME! How many times have I spent HOURS looking for something that is not in its home? TOO MANY! The alphabet is not that difficult. And we have a log book in case you managed to forget where it goes. Put things back where they go!
6) DO NOT LEAVE CHEMICAL SOAKED PAPERTOWELS ON THE BENCH WHERE SOMEONE WILL COME INTO CONTACT WITH THEM! Seriously! this likely falls under the “clean up your mess” rule, but I feel this makes a bigger impact.
Remember- this is a lab. With toxic, dangerous chemicals. Don’t make us want to use them on you.
I am going to go crawl into the -80 now.