Thursday, July 9, 2009

The last productive Friday

After a very productive early part of the week, the mid/late part of the week has fallen flat, owing mostly to the brain-fogging cold/cold medications. And my undergrad has returned from his mini-vacation. (Don't get me wrong. It's kind of fun having a minion working on a mini-project that I would be doing eventually, but it also means planning for two and often working even longer hours to finish my work that couldn't get done because I was supervising the minion.)

And tomorrow promises to be the last opportunity for a highly productive Friday for months.

In my postdoc lab, Fridays are notoriously unproductive days, mostly through no fault of my own--and I'm not the only one who feels that way. I am sure that in many labs, Fridays are typically less productive--people are winding down from a busy week, maybe leaving earlier than they would any other day of the week. In my graduate lab, we had a one-hour journal club (which included lunch), and half the group was cleared out before 5 on Friday.*
But the current situation is in a different class. In my postdoc lab, we have group meeting on Friday mornings. Generally I am not opposed to group meetings and, in fact, think they are important (more on that later). The problem is our group meetings are THREE HOURS LONG! I had never heard nor conceived such a thing before I arrived at BRI. There is little time to setup or perform experiments before the meeting (unless you arrive at the butt crack of dawn). The meeting rarely ever starts on time.** The first 20+ minutes are devoted to budget, administrative, and general lab issues. Then the data fest begins. About 5 people present each week, but there is no time constraints, so people are free to ramble (and ramble some do) for as long as they like... for THREE HOURS.
By the time nearly 3 hours worth of data (typically with little or no background or introduction) has passed in front of me, I'm exhausted, and my brain is toast. And it's time for lunch. After lunch, it's time to write up a TPS report. By the time I take care of my children--er, cells--the day is almost gone. And I'll be damned if I'm going to start a multi-hour experiment late Friday afternoon (as Friday and Sunday evenings are the only weekend I have with Paramed).
My current boss, Guru, has been on vacation for the past 2 weeks. So we've had a blessed break from the tedium. Guru returns next week, so back to the drudgery.
I'll just have to make the most of my last productive Friday until the boss leaves again.

*Granted, it usually pissed off Bear, but being the passive-aggressive creature he is, he wouldn't say anything about it. Instead I (or some other unfortunate soul in his path) would get to endure a snarky remark or acidic 'conversation', despite/because of the fact that I was still there at 4:30 on a Friday.

**This is a huge pet peeve. And nothing at BRI starts on time.
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DamnGoodTechnician said...

That's just plain crazy. Two people, tops, should present at a lab meeting. I've got two hours of attention span in me, and beyond that, it turns into Charlie Brown's teacher up there in front of the powerpoint - "mwah wah wah wah, mwah mwah wah."

biochem belle said...

That's precisely how I feel about 1.75 h into the meeting.

My spouse put it this way: You can only learn as much as your ass can stand.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

The problem is our group meetings are THREE HOURS LONG!

That is fucking ridiculous. Our lab meetings never go over an hour, or maybe 1:15, tops.