Unminuted

Now, I’m all for lab meetings: they’re necessary and useful for the testing and drawing of ideas, the exposure to criticism, as well as the development of presentation skills and all that box-ticking stuff. However, without being sure why, I still often dread them- when it’s my turn. It’s not the speaking I mind – if I have something worth talking about, then it might be hard to shut me up. (Warning: don’t bring up Led Zeppelin when I’ve had a few to drink.) But when what I consider best approached as an informal discussion about someone’s particular bag has morphed into the guise of seminar-like panache, then, being one in a data-deficient rut still reeling from an ‘almost’ blow, I find it an uncomfortable exercise. I’m not a spin doctor and just don’t see the point in talking if there’s nothing to say.

However, it wouldn’t be the done thing to behave like a Tory politician in response to questions about Ashcroft’s taxes. I do have respect for my good colleagues. So, instead of turning up with nothing and winging it by ad-lib, I was in at the weekend, whence, in my ongoing fight with perhaps the most transient in vitro element in cell biology, I actually got a surprisingly nice result. So, I tacked a couple of images on to the end of a previous ‘presentation’ (for reminder purposes), purchased the pacification Jaffa Cakes, and tried it out – with a slew of caveats. When I’m presenting my stuff, I am invariably the most negative sceptical in the room. Don’t get over-excited: I have to reproduce it with other cultures. But, if it’s a real affect, I may well have the explanation for the recent tripwire.

And it went okay: the usual mix of novel and repeated questions, the answerable, unanswerable and irritating, supportive and fractious comments; and I come out with that mild euphoria, having ‘got away’ with it – this scrutiny by local peer review panel – again, still to be exposed as that flummoxed incompetent. (It’s bizarre: whilst I’m sure one or two are on to me, others seem to believe it’s all going swimmingly well?!?) And that jokey friendly thing continues for a while; and, fuelled by residual adrenalin and another shot of caffeine, I attack the day’s labour with gusto. And I treat myself to an early (6 pm) finish: home to a book, and a beer, and the football on TV – and to knock this out; but before I can post it, I’m going to have to suss out this MT4 thing that everybody’s so excited about. Hmm – could take some time. Perhaps I’ll sort tomorrow.

4 responses to “Unminuted

  1. Looks like you’ve sussed it out already?
    I come out with that mild euphoria, having ‘got away’ with it – this scrutiny by local peer review panel – again, still to be exposed as that flummoxed incompetent.
    Haven’t we all been there? I so envy a couple of MD/PhD colleagues of mine who not only appear confident and well-prepared, but almost always are and they never seem to get the stupid cold sweats and impression of being not quite up to scratch that I also get (also re: to you, as opposed to them). Then again, I know they sweat bullets when they have to speak in English, whereas I can hold my own and b.s. in English or French, so there are a couple of compensations.

  2. Sounds very like committee meetings, where you suddenly realise one day before the meeting that you were tasked with an action or three last time. Cue frantic emails to set things in train so you can truthfully report “It is in progress” or “I am waiting for a response from X”.

  3. Sounds very like committee meetings, where you suddenly realise one day before the meeting that you were tasked with an action or three last time. Cue frantic emails to set things in train so you can truthfully report “It is in progress” or “I am waiting for a response from X”.

  4. Sussed? Me? Hardly. I’ve been unable to ‘claim’ my blog (and have little concept of why it’s necessary to do so). But I’ll let others get irritated with the teething problems. I’d be ill-equipped to discuss MT4 in a meeting. But failed experiments – could talk all day about them! But they’re not very interesting in meetings where people who spend little time in the lab only want to see good data.

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