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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The old biddy speaks: do as I say, not as I did

In my new job, I am conscious of the fact that I really ought to set a decent example in terms of safe laboratory practices, not wasting too much time surfing the internet, etc.  That part is relatively easy.  The hard part is that sometimes I have to get into "Do as I say, not as I did" mode. I feel a bit hypocritical, even though I've already trained myself not to do most of these bad habits.
In the last few weeks, I've had to look some stuff up in notebooks of former group members.  Gaaaahhh! A few people didn't see fit to write their names in their notebooks.  In some cases, they wrote their initials on the front, but some didn't even do that.  Yeah, I know it's your notebook and it sits on your desk and you know it's yours, but someday someone may want to look something up in there.  Others didn't write the date down for each experiment, or didn't write the year.  These things are so obvious that neither my boss nor I would've thought it was necessary to tell people this.  But there were other examples that fell closer to things I used to do, which are more along the lines of general laziness, e.g. abbreviating structures to the point that only the writer knows what it is, or saying that a reaction was performed as usual, without referencing what usual is.  I am guilty of those sorts of transgressions, and have already done my penance in the form of learning from my mistakes.   So, when we reinstitute the biannual 5 minute good lab notebook keeping practices reminder* at group meeting, I'm going to remind everyone that these are not good notebook keeping practices.  Even though I've learned from my mistakes, I still feel like a bit of a hypocrite.

*  we got these occasionally in industry, too

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