Indoctrination to playing the game...

Mar 22 2012 Published by under LinkLove

Yesterday PLS posted about "playing the game" and finding himself in the midst of players that make the big decisions and their power plays.  I think all of us to some extent "play the game" whether you know it or not and we all learn the rules of the game at an early age.  For example, I hate journal club.  And I really really hate presenting in journal club.  But luckily I know the person that runs the schedule for it.  If I do something else for the person, the quid pro quo becomes I don't have to present this semester.  Both of us are pawns and manipulators in the game, they manipulated me to get something done and I manipulated them to get out of journal club because I was taking care of something else.

My whole take on the issue is that don't act horrified like the game and gamesmanship exists, it has since the dawn of time.  And it will go into perpetuity.  I wonder if those elementary and grade school teacher's pets are not just early adopters to "the game?"

11 responses so far

  • Bashir says:

    Agreed. Sometimes I think people just don't like the term, it sounds dirty and political. No one wants to think themselves as underhanded. There's certainly a possibility of some of that, but most things that I'd fit in as "game playing" are innocuous things people do anyway.

  • BugDoc says:

    Why do you hate presenting at journal club?

    • Much of the time I hear BS discussion on how this figure could have been laid out better versus talking about the meat of the paper. I don't feel like standing up there to have you snipe at shit when we should be talking about results and the conclusions they draw from them or the shortcomings of the paper.

      And plus, I am having to present each semester in our departmental (which very few folks work in my field), the shit is getting old.

  • Dr 27 says:

    Oh yes, how much do I hate thee journal club, shit-tons I say, shit-tons. I suck at discussing papers in public. Could be that I have yet to master the X-ray type vision some people display when they notice the stuff that takes the paper from being a complete piece of brilliant to brilliant piece of shit. I do play the game, not often, but I do. Thankfully we don't have journal club, nor have we had one in any of my previous labs, at least not regularly. Sure, it's to my detriment, but I'd rather read the papers without pressure, and discuss them at my leisure, than present them on cue.

    I scratch people's back in the lab for other stuff, like moving heavy pieces, or dealing with admin crap and navigating those waters to get things moving. I'll set up stuff for them, or stay let on days they need to pick up their kids at school. It's the least I could do.

    • DJMH says:

      Not to take this too far on a tangent, but journal club is generally one of the single best opportunities for trainees to understand how papers are put together. You avoid it at your peril (unless it really is all about figure layout, which yeah is ridiculous)

      • No, there is a huge value to journal club provide you have a productive discussion, but the majority of critiques come down to these ticky tack comments on well they used too many commas or the legend for this immunofluorescence would have been better this way.

        I feel like by not regulating the discussion the more junior graduate students are not really learning how to critically evaluate papers.

        • I feel like some of that nitpicking is useful from the point of view of learning to write papers. Having a critical discussion of how such and such a figure could have better presented the information they're trying to portray, for example. If people are getting into grammatical rules, I would like to say to say that's a waste of time - but then I read undergraduate reports...

  • physioprof says:

    There is no such thing as not playing the game. The only questions are (1) whether you play it well and to your advantage and (2) whether you play it without being a dicke. Anyone who tells you they "don't play" is really just telling you they play poorly.

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