I’ve been working a bunch in lab, and I’ve talked about the people in lab a bit. Most of the people seemed pretty normal to me, and I guessed that they were mostly friends, but it turns out that there’s a bunch of weird drama and people hide their problems (unlike me who loudly announces them).
One of the guys who left this year was a pretty good chemist from a technical viewpoint. He was amiable, knew what he was doing, and overall normal. He was in his third year, so I assumed he was going to be there forever, but he left with a masters after three and a half years. He got a job as a junior chemist in industry doing natural product stuff, and he seemed a lot happier being paid a bunch more and working 40 hours a week. I only today found out he left because he failed his oral exam twice and had to leave with his masters.
One of the girls who left this year left with her masters after four (!) years. Apparently she just wanted the masters, but friction with the professor had something to do with it. Apparently she cried a few times. She’s now getting a PhD somewhere else.
The lab also lost a gay Bolivian postdoc who quit and joined another lab over in the chemistry department. His formal reason for leaving was that he wanted to do more analytical stuff, but he had a lot of other issues as well, apparently. He thought that the stuff he was doing was too easy, that the project was dead besides, and he had friction with the boss. He never really talked to anyone.
So the lab lost three people this year which has made it considerably smaller, but we picked up a grad student whom everyone universally loathes. The informal vote to pick him up was very close, but the professor ultimately hired him. His competence is definitely questionable. He shared a hood with another grad student and accidentally knocked over her shit. Also he broke the HPLC which stopped everyone from doing research for two weeks. He’s kind of a dopey person, and he’s balding. When we unpacked our lab from our recent move, the professor told him to switch to the next bench because it was farther away from the common walkway so people walking on it wouldn’t see him being incompetent and retarded. Science is science, but appearing competent gets you grants. Everyone treats him like shit. Like the boss and the lab manager say shit like, “Go put this on the shelves above his bench. If he’s there, tell him to go away.” Also today the lab manager told him to go to the stockroom (a 15 minute walk) for some tubing. When he got back, one of the other students had stolen all of his tubing so he couldn’t set up.
Also my grad student is always sad, I thought it was mostly religion, but he’s also not really friends with anyone in lab. I think relations used to be better, but his current girlfriend is the ex-girlfriend of one of the dude who left with his masters, so obvs there has to be some tension there. Also yesterday he was using a straight razor to cut his tubing, and he was cutting towards himself and sliced off the tip of his thumb. I saw the razor go in deep and he bled profusely. It was sickening.
We also have a student on rotation. She’s foreign and doesn’t really get sarcasm. She also doesn’t really have many friends in the lab.