Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Latent Something

I have a long-standing theory that PIs at large universities are not selected for either management skills or teaching ability, and therefore, generally possess none.* (There are, of course, some who have it nonetheless, but not from any selective pressure on them.)

Dr. S's boss has, all unwitting, made it a personal mission in life to validate my theory.** She does an excellent passive-aggressive I-won't-send-your-paper-out. She tells people to their faces that they are terrible writers, that she understood nothing, and she will have to rewrite their entire papers (this to people who, I know personally, are excellent writers). She chides people in front of their entire lab for such sins as summarizing previously presented data. She is upset when Dr. S has a conflicting theory, and even more so when he is right.

What on earth is wrong with her? Latent psychotic tendencies? An inferiority complex? A tragic and possibly fatal lack of acquaintance with being contradicted?

In any event, she surely does not possess any management skills at all. Except the BAD kind.

*Some people do manage- I'm looking at you, JP- but it's all about their own skills, and usually not about the university hiring for it. I mean, when's the last academic job interview where they asked you about your personnel and budgeting skills? If you have a grant, well, very good. If you already have a job and postdocs, you must have skills! Yes! Brilliant syllogism.

** Come to think of it, Dr. S's former boss, who let a single postdoc single-handedly run the lab into $100,000 of debt, harass other postdocs such that they filed formal complaints, poison the entire lab atmosphere with entitlement and resentment, and directly cause the firing of four people (to make up the debt).... didn't have any skills either.


  1. Sounds sadly familiar. Do you know this
    article? Not exactly what I would call management skills, but it does work, in labs and other places.

  2. Amelie: Ha, ha... wait. WAAAAH.


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