the veiled sibyl

I have heard and said more inanities, since you took me in tow, than in all the rest of my life.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Inane? Insane?

What a week.

Everyone knows the story, so I'm just writing this down for posterity.

On Monday, my boss called a lab meeting. I had a feeling that this was going to be "the day" - meaning, the day I would give him the resignation letter I'd prepared two weeks before. We were all dreading the approaching meeting. For the last three months or so, every single meeting we've had with the boss has ended up with him yelling, turning red, and becoming totally unreasonable.

The meeting started just fine, everything seemed okay - but that's how it always goes. He gave us an update on stuff that needed to be done, told us to make sure to get our presentations done for our big meeting with our funding agency in September, and then proceeded to talk to each of us about what we had been working on.

DxB went first, and it was completely fine. The boss said he hadn't gotten a chance to look at all the data DxB had been giving him, they noted that they wanted to talk about another project that they had thought up, everything was hunky-dory.

Next was me. He asked what I was doing, and I told him I was using X technique to verify DxB's previous findings. For some reason, I don't think he liked that idea, even though we had previously discussed it, and that's where things went downhill.

It's kind of hard to explain, but it all boiled down to DxB, Trani and I wanting to do things a certain way - a way we believed, based on our knowledge and data from our experiments, was the correct way. The boss was insisting we do things another way. Now, I won't get into the details here, but I have asked several different scientists about this, and every one says that our way was the only correct way. The boss became enraged when we tried to explain our point - mainly it was DxB doing the explaining - he stayed very calm while the boss raged on. It ended when DxB finally said, "Okay, I don't want to fight about this. Just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. Even if it is WRONG."

That's when the boss stood up and yelled "The meeting is OVER! There might not even be a lab next week!"

So, I took advantage of the highly charged emotional state of things and printed off my resignation letter and handed it over.

He talked to me and tried to convince me to stay - even going so far as to off-handedly threaten me by saying "you might not have just one income - I might fire DxB, then you'll have none." Now, that's reasonable - try to get me to stay at a job by threatening to FIRE my husband?? Makes a whole fucking lot of sense. Anyway, I refused, and told him I was out of there in two weeks.

Next day, DxB prepared a resignation letter and went in to discuss things with the boss before handing it over. Their meeting resulted in another yelling match, with the boss accusing DxB of "kneecapping the research" and "backstabbing" him. (What the fuck??) It ended up with DxB shoving his resig letter at the boss while the boss was shoving a termination letter at DxB. DxB refused to take the letter, but in it, the boss accused DxB of having no ability to design or carry out an experiment, of meddling in everyone else's experiments, of not producing any data, and of having no respect for the boss (OK, I'll definitely give him that one). Then, in yet another display of his great powers of reason, the boss told DxB that his task in his remaining four weeks was to gather all the data he had produced in the last month and prepare a manuscript for publication. So, uh... where did all this data come from if DxB had no ability to design and carry out experiments, or produce data??

After that little episode, the boss handed Trani a termination letter. He was nice to her, and said she'd been "caught in the crossfire". He said now that we were gone, there was no way she could do the experiments alone, so she'd have to be cut. I don't really think she cared much. She said he was being nice about it, but it was all a fucking mask, because there was an email that he sent to the secretary about the terminations where he said he wanted to cut all of us off sooner and get us out, but he'd keep Trani on for a while longer because she "whined about insurance." What a FUCKER.

So now he says he's going to drop the whole project. I'm interested to see how he does that since this is funded through a federal grant. You can't just spend that money on anything you want - you have to do what you've said you'd do. The secretary is under the impression that he can do whatever he wants, as it's his lab. True - but how you pay for it - that's a different story. I'd like to see what happens at this big meeting in September with our funding agency and our collaborators. How will he explain that four of the five key personnel listed in the grant are no longer working for him? (We had a post doc walk out a couple of months ago.)

Apparently he thinks he can just drop this project and have Cakes and NRA "carry the lab" from now on. What do they plan to do? Well, looks like they are going to re-hash all the old data - stuff from back when I first started here, stuff that Okashii and Polkahdot were doing years ago... Yep, Cakes and NRA are going to lead the lab... into THE PAST! (Advancement of science? Pshaw! Redoing old experiments is far easier!)

Interestingly, he told Trani that he was only going to hire people who "he liked" and who had personalities like his. Appears to just about everyone that he ditched all the people who had the balls to stand up to him, and kept only the sycophant females he could bully and cow. Just commands respect don't it?

Let me just for a moment "run the numbers" here:

3 = number of papers with DxB as first author.
3 = number of papers with your humble author as first author.
6 = number of papers with DxB listed as an author.
7 = number of papers with your humble author listed as an author.
2 = number of papers with Trani listed as an author (and she's only been here a year!)
2 = number of grants written by DxB. (Grants were funded)
4 = number of grants co-written by DxB and Dr. Z (Grants were funded)
1 = number of grants co-written by DxB in collaboration WITH THE BOSS'S WIFE (Pending)

0 = number of papers listing Cakes as first author.
0 = number of papers listing NRA as first author.
1 = number of papers listing Cakes as an author. (One of DxB's papers)
3 = number of papers listing NRA as an author. (Two of mine.)

So... all that goes down, and I go for my interview on Wednesday. It went great, and I heard from HR that they had an offer for me that they would send next week!

DxB - he's going to take some time and try to decide if he wants to finish his PhD or find something else to do. Trani's been applying like crazy (Love's Truck Stop? What??) and has another interview next week. She'll be fine, I know it.

So for now we three amigos bid farewell to the Xiphophorus Genetic Shit Center and the Molecular Biology Do What I Say Because I'm The Big Scary Boss Man And Don't You Dare Question It Non-Research Group, and say:





Anonymous trani said...


8:16 PM  
Anonymous trani said...

p.s. i didn't whine... actually he put sept 15th and then said wait... give me that letter back so i can put oct 1 since you have a child....

8:17 PM  

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