Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Third week

This is kind of the beginning of the third week, given the holiday. I actually did take the day off, something I had not done for a long, long time in my postdoc. So here is where we are at:
  • All labware has been washed and autoclaved by the diligent, awesome undergrad workstudy student

  • Visit from Lab Manager Contractor was a huge success, getting all equipment unpacked and set up in new homes, stored supplies away in drawers, labeled everything with our OCD Type-A Label Maker Extreme

  • Goal of "no more boxes" was met by Friday evening, so now the only boxes left in the lab are full cases of backup stocks of various things

  • Electrical infrastructure work is almost done, so almost all instruments are almost all ready to use (aside from two that need manufacturer install to come set them up)--I'd say we're now at 85% of the way to functional

  • Promising lab manager candidate has been interviewed, reference checked by phone, and is looking to be "the one," offer to be made ASAP

  • Office fridge has been bought (it was hilarious watching the weedy guy at BestBuy trying to cram a 4.7 cft thing into the backseat of my little Jetta) and office has been fully stocked with microwave, food, picnic dishes and coffee/coffeemaker

  • Rotation student #1 has been set to start in October, additional undergraduate has committed to becoming the cell culture helper (her schedule does not allow for actual research, but her interest and enthusiasm were high, so maybe she can move into more research next semester)

  • Most ergonomics equipment has arrived and been installed (still waiting on my Herman Miller Aeron chair, it is on the way!) so I am much more comfortable typing this than I have been in the past

  • Husband is out of town for almost two full weeks (but home at the weekend) for work, so I get to stay as late as I want next week to play with the instruments and start preparing my teaching lectures
Those are the main highlights of the last week and the coming one. Things are settling into some semblance of a routine. I also now fully understand why PIs can never remember or keep track of anything. I've been spinning around reeling from the sheer number of crises to attend to at all given times. Professor Chaos calls it "Whack-a-mole," and it is afflicting me. I'm trying to figure out how to manage it. I have a REALLY GOOD memory when things get imprinted. I can usually control the imprinting process such that these little stamps get saved and can be called up when necessary, but my call-up processes appear to be getting jammed. I attempt to initiate them, and I just get the little spinny-wheel thing saying "working on it..." in my brain, while I stare into space. I think my first strategy will be to drink more coffee, particularly later in the day. My second strategy will probaby be to give up trying to remember things. My third will be to get an iPhone and figure out how to sync it up automatically with my iCalendar and maybe even my brain directly, so it can twinkle at me to let me know I need to know about something.

1 comment:

Odyssey said...

As I said over at Professor Chaos's - only whack the moles worth loads of points. Ignore the rest. It will take a little practice to figure out which are the ones worth a big whack, but once you do all those little fellows become ignorable white noise. The key early on is to take a moment to think about what would happen if you didn't whack a particular mole. 99% of the time the answer will be "nothing of any consequence."

Time is now one of your most important assets. Spend it wisely.