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Aug 10 2011

So, so true

I’ve had all of these perspectives in my career, so I can tell you that they’re mostly right…except for the one about how professors see themselves. You should just substitute the postdoc:postdoc image for the professor:professor one.

Also, I worked my way through college as an undergraduate technician. Even with my lowly status, I really did see all the undergrads/grads/postdocs as spoiled children who were there only to screw up my lab and my precious experimental animals. Especially when they’d leave a pile of gore and blood and dead animal parts scattered all over the surgery, and expected me to clean it all up.

(Also on Sb)

36 comments

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  1. 1
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    It may not be prudent to tell your students that you see them as either OH LAWDY SO SEXY or slaves.

    I mean yeah, it’s probably true, but you’re not supposed to say it.

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    How the IDiots see everyone in science.

    Because of their suffering, of course.

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    llewelly

    PZ:

    Especially when they’d leave a pile of gore and blood and dead animal parts scattered all over the surgery, and expected me to clean it all up.

    Actually, that mess was made by the Hideous Thing which ate them, and then escaped without you noticing. It still lurks in the hills outside of town, waiting patiently for innocent passers by …

  4. 4
    PZ Myers

    That’s a good point. That one is probably also wrong: professors see undergrads as little kids. Every year when the new crop of freshmen come in, we’re all secretly aghast at how damned young they are.

  5. 5
    dropkickpa

    HA! Printed and shared!!

  6. 6
    Carlie

    That’s a good point. That one is probably also wrong: professors see undergrads as little kids. Every year when the new crop of freshmen come in, we’re all secretly aghast at how damned young they are.

    That’s exactly what I was thinking – ew, they’re little, not old sexy people!

  7. 7
    hyperdeath

    I don’t get the technician as seen by postdoc image. What does it mean?

  8. 8
    PZ Myers

    The techs are the ones who know everything that’s happening in the lab.

  9. 9
    Sal Bro

    hyperdeath, I took it to mean that postdocs see techs as being busybodies.

  10. 10
    Moggie

    So, Scrooge McDuck is prone to saying things like “how do I google my internet?” and being baffled by printers?

  11. 11
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m confused. Why do technicians see themselves as ultra-conservative, very religious, homophobic whackjobs who write for WorldNutDaily and support getting the Wholly Babble into public schools?

    Or maybe I’m missing something..

  12. 12
    DataJack

    Also, Chuck Norris was at the Southpoint when we were at TAM. I didn’t see him, but I heard he walked with a body guard.

  13. 13
    Sastra

    Especially when they’d leave a pile of gore and blood and dead animal parts scattered all over the surgery, and expected me to clean it all up.

    Maybe those were sacrificial offerings. Not a bad idea to get on the good side of the techies.

    If they were too messy, you should have constructed an altar as a helpful hint.

  14. 14
    SteveM

    re 11:

    I’m confused. Why do technicians see themselves as ultra-conservative, very religious, homophobic whackjobs who write for WorldNutDaily and support getting the Wholly Babble into public schools?

    Or maybe I’m missing something..

    Your missing seeing him as the character he played on TV: McGuyver. Oh wait(!) that was Richard Dean Anderson (not this guy), who could solve any technical problem with little more than a paperclip and bubblegum. Sorry for that, but McGuyver makes more sense to me as the Technician’s view of other technicians.

  15. 15
    feralboy12

    Especially when they’d leave a pile of gore and blood and dead animal parts scattered all over the surgery, and expected me to clean it all up.

    Hey, we already know how you feel about cats.

  16. 16
    Psych-Oh

    I am with SteveM about McGuyver. I could fix an EEG pen and replace faulty electrodes blindfolded (well, almost). I thought I was pretty stinkin’ cool.

  17. 17
    Karen

    The “how technician sees himself” is so damned true in my department! Our tech is a super-conservative, who works among a bunch of liberal professors and mostly liberal students without saying a word (but he does listen to Rush Limbaugh in his own lab). OTOH, he’s personally the antithesis of the archtype Rethug: personable, kind, and patient. He also has an amazing capability for hacking together lab tools out of the pittance that our department has for lab equipment. (We’re primarily a teaching school; what few grants we do get go toward supporting MS student work. At best, they might pay for some work done at another school’s lab. None trickle down to our own labs.)

  18. 18
    Ric

    Yeah, this post seems imprudent on your part, PZ.

  19. 19
    Blueaussi

    Sastra@18 “Maybe those were sacrificial offerings. Not a bad idea to get on the good side of the techies.

    If they were too messy, you should have constructed an altar as a helpful hint.”

    Oh!

    I am *so* going to do that the next time someone leaves me a mess in the necropsy room!

  20. 20
    Kirian

    There is no doubt the person who wrote this was a technician. Though when I was a tech, I saw the postdocs in a generally better light than that; maybe my postdocs actually knew what they were doing. :)

  21. 21
    Kichae

    So, am I the only one who finds the idea of being looked upon as Scrooge McDuck some day a dream come true? Regardless of the money bin, even.

    If I ever make it to professor, I’m getting the McDuck outfit tailored for me.

  22. 22
    Zeno

    PZ: Every year when the new crop of freshmen come in, we’re all secretly aghast at how damned young they are.

    The teaching profession has long since discovered the secret of eternal youth. Unfortunately, the eternal youth is for your students, not for you.

  23. 23
    Blueaussi

    Kirian@20

    You know what PhD stands for, don’t you?

    Poor Helpless Doctor

  24. 24
    Alexander Safir

    Hmm. What institution functions without staff? Strangely absent from the chart.

    No, wait, I get it now!

  25. 25
    Rey Fox

    It may not be prudent to tell your students that you see them as either OH LAWDY SO SEXY or slaves.

    No biggie. Just don’t stand, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to them.

  26. 26
    Ctenotrish

    He appears to be unstable, and certainly is alarming. I too hope he gets the professional help he needs …

  27. 27
    Ctenotrish

    Oh shoot. Wrong thread. Sorry!!

  28. 28
    Love

    What it all boils down to is a three-dimensional “How X thinks (Y thinks of Z)”. Maybe more dimensions?

  29. 29
    CD

    There is no doubt the person who wrote this was a technician.

    Agreed. :D

  30. 30
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    I don’t know what’s happening in the “how undergrads see PhD students” square, but I always saw PhD students as they allegedly see themselves… Living with several of them probably helped that impression a little. Everything else seems right in that row, as far as I can tell :) But erm yeah, I’d guess we probably didn’t seem as sexy to most professors as this chart would like us to think, since I’m only a year out from undergrad and I already can’t look at the (traditional) undergrads without worrying about how very little and young they all are. Can’t imagine they will become sexy sexy grownups with greater distance…

  31. 31
    DLC

    Once upon a time DLC worked as a lab tech. and yes, students were entirely annoying children who blew stuff up and expected me to fix it. Oh, and some of them managed to electrocute/cut/burn/poison themselves while doing it.

  32. 32
    nemo the derv

    blueaussie@23
    Kirian@20

    I thought it stood for “Piling it High and Deep”

  33. 33
    Timothy (TRiG)

    I like the vision of lab techs as Akinator.

    TRiG.

  34. 34
    dropkickpa

    Postdocs last, what, 6 months to *maybe* 2 years in a lab, techs seeing them as children is very appropriate! I often hear techs here bemoan the influx of new “baby postdocs” and all the babysitting they’ll have to do for the next 6 months until they’re somewhat capable of functioning independently.

  35. 35
    David Utidjian

    Techie here. I think the way we view ourselves is a bit more than McGyver. McGyver is a bogus hack. I was thinking more along the lines of Jonathan Goldsmith of Dos Equis “most interesting man in the world.” ad campaign.

    “The police often question him just because they find him interesting,” “His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body,” “His blood smells like cologne.”

    The last is sometimes true… with the stuff we have to work with. ;-)

    http://michiganacting.com/acting/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/dos-equis-man.png

  36. 36
    MarkusR

    I’m in Electrical Engineering and we don’t really have technicians. Heck, we barely have labs. It’s more like BYOT&E hobby time.

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