Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jealously? How do you deal with it?

I took great care and time to choose my PhD supervisor. I wanted to make sure that I was working with someone that I could talk to, who would understand my work / life balancing issues and who would, overall, be a good mentor and friend. Having already done a MSc. under someone who was a very good, thorough scientist, with high ethical standards, I wasn’t worried about working under a great scientist. I know what it takes to do good science. I am doing my PhD to expand my skill set and learn how to do research, which is different from doing good science. Knowing how to do research, to me means learning how to ask questions, formulate hypotheses that provide interesting answers regardless of whether the null hypothesis turns out to be correct. I know how to do good science. To have the proper controls and to know how to do the stats a priori. My current supervisor may not put importance on those things, but I do and I am doing the work so that’s okay. I also choose not to bitch and complain about his imperfections because quite frankly I’m not perfect either, and as I’ve said before I’ve seen worse. This attitude means that I am perceived as having things handed to me. I am perceived for having it easy, because I have a good relationship with him – which means others are not so forthcoming with assistant or knowledge. Being of a more mature variety, I don’t care that people are jealous but it does bug me that they are taking their frustrations out on me. If the PI is favouring me (as they perceive it) it is NOT because I am sucking up or not being independent so why are they punishing me by being stingy with their expertise? Who know, all I know is that it just means I will go elsewhere looking for it.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

I’m not there and I don’t know who is in the lab, but something to consider. Are they really more hesitant with you? Or are they prickly with each other? Is there a long-standing friendly-not-friendly dynamic? Was there a friendship present already, or a pecking order you may have unwittingly disturbed? I once accidentally disturbed one heck of a strong pecking order, and it made for some very unpleasant times.

If it’s really the case that they’re that petty … well, sucks to be them. Seriously. Long-term it does. But short-term it sucks to be you. Build relations outside of the lab – contact other PIs, grads, and postdocs. For assistance where you need extra hands, recruit undergrads … not so easy for the summer depending on where you are, but maybe in the fall?

No major advice here … just understanding I guess. Hang in there. You’re not just being handed ‘treats’, you’re working hard, and if they’re mature at all they’ll see it eventually.