Sitting, Waiting, Wishing...

Apr 03 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

ain't just the name of a Jack Johnson song, it is kind of how I am feeling right now.  We have a new trainee who is set to start in the lab rather soon and from very reliable sources I have heard that they will be working on my project.  Now no one likes anyone to poach on their patch but there are some different directions that you can take this project in.  I'm kind of coming to the crossroads of this as I have previously spent a lot of time on reagent development and getting certain facets of the research in place.  Which avenues will be open to me and which ones will be roadblocked for the new trainee to pursue?

Hell if I know, my PI hasn't told me.  In fact he hasn't even let me know that this new person will be working on my project.  I have to be honest I think he is dragging his feet and doesn't want to cause a controversy.  But some lead time would have let me know and I could have preliminarily explored some side projects that could pan out to be great.

So science blogosphere, what is the appropriate etiquette for adding a new person to a project?  How do you tell the trainee what's about to happen, divvy up the work, etc?

3 responses so far

  • Fred says:

    Can't you put together a few non-vulgar words to have a conversation with your PI? You don't have to ask him straight out, but a "hey, this new person seems cool, what will they work on and how will their expertise compliment the project" will do. It's not all about you, it's about the greater good: data ... Papers ... Grant.

  • Chris says:

    The greater good is... well, good but it is about your thesis too. Speaking to your PI directly sounds like the best option. Mention which directions you would like to keep but offer up some other stuff for the new trainee too.

    I think on my current project I am the "new trainee" although I am generating prelim. data for a new direction as opposed to hijacking this other guys project. When I started he was just finishing up his thesis though so I wasn't in the position of "taking over" his work.

    Hope it works out for you!

  • cbeck says:

    Another way to handle this is to start an arrangement with the new trainee up front. It basically goes like this: I'm going to invest substantial time in training them. In exchange, they are going to perform quite a bit of data generation and collection for me. I am going to write a paper with that data, and because I am nice, I will put their name on it too. It's best to have the arrangement cleared with your advisor, also, such that you are not responsible for any misunderstandings the new trainee may have down the road.

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