Protection of Silence

Sep 01 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I am starting to think that I need a Maxwell Smart* Cone of Silence that I can use for a few hour chunks of time.  I am being constantly bothered in the lab about a litany of issues, many that don't even pertain to me.  And its starting to drive me up a wall while I'm trying to get stuff done.  I mean I can't go 30 minutes without someone interrupting me.

My experience makes me feel terrible for PI's who are always being interrupted to put out some fire here or there.


*How few people even know this reference???

9 responses so far

  • Oh do I ever feel your pain on this. As the senior grad student in the lab who has been here longer than all except one postdoc, everyone comes to me all the time for everything. I like to help people, because I know lots of people helped me along the way, but damn, I am never going to graduate at this rate. If I say I'm busy and can't help at the moment, my boss says I'm not a team player. If I have to push experiments back a day because I spent too much time helping other people, my boss says I'm bad at time management. I've even tried taping a sign to the back of my chair saying "Pretend I'm not here!" but then people write down questions on slips of paper and push it into my line of sight. I need an invisibility cape to get shit done!

  • El Picador says:

    A lifetime spent cultivating an unapproachable visage is worth three cones of silence.

  • odyssey says:

    I need a cone of silence and a shoe phone.

  • tideliar says:

    I used to just use my iPod. I didn't usually play music at all, but with the ear buds in peop assume I was listening to something and left me alone 🙂

    great for eavesdropping too...

  • I've got nothing useful to say about being bothered...but Get Smart used to be my favorite TV show. Back in the day, on Nick at Nite.

  • Pharm Sci Grad says:

    I would also like to put in a request for one. Like, STAT! Especially when people decide to talk at anything above a whisper in the common write-up area while I'm trying to read/write. That shit is DISTRACTING. >.<

    I'll second Sugar Scientist on the bothersomeness of being a senior lab peep. I want to help, I do, but damn, if it's not time-sensitive, do you have to bother me while I'm BUSY doing something?! Common courtesy, not so common...

  • almax says:

    I suggest you place a note on your personal PI web page, your office and your lab entrance (s):

    "All vendors, solicitors and unexpected visitors are requested to first set an appointment with my laboratory manager, Mr McDonald. No exceptions allowed. Please, don't rompere le palle, that is to say, don't fuck me up".

    I hope it works. It has been working for me.

  • BugDoc says:

    Cone of Silence TOTALLY works! I learned this as a grad student from a postdoc who was very focused and very efficient. If you walked up to her while she was in the middle of something, she would just hold up a hand and say "CONE OF SILENCE!". If you violated the cone of silence, she would not talk to you until she was done with what she was doing, no matter how long it took.

Leave a Reply