A Gift from Cameron – and the Interview

My baby boy gave me a card today!

Okay, it was a ball wrapped up in a washcloth. And it took me until he was screaming to understand that no, he didn’t want a card, he didn’t see a card, he wasn’t saying “Mommy, card,” as in mommy-get-me-a-card. It was “Here Mommy I have a card for you!”

He was so thrilled, his eyes positively glowing, when I unwrapped it. “A card!” he announced.

I thanked him profusely with kisses.

But I know, the stuff y’all want to hear about is the interview, right?

It went well, I think.

I got to see some of the lab stuff that goes on, and some of the complications that happen, like study participants being late, and feeling dizzy to nearly the point of vomiting from fasting for the blood draw. That’s apparently not the norm. I’ll admit to being a little bit fascinated by the dark red filled tubes.

The current lab manager did some of the day’s lab work while I observed. There was a lot of standing around, waiting, so I asked if she usually could fill the gaps with other work. In Michael’s lab I could do that when things were hopping – start something spinning, go start an incubation, make a solution, go get the spinning stuff out, do something with it, start it spinning again, get the incubating reaction … etc. Yes, she does the same sort of thing, doing ordering and such while waiting for a spin to finish, but with someone in tow that’s a little hard. I understand. Oh, and I chatted with the other lab manager, who manages the non-wet lab side of things.

Then it was my turn to do some lab work. Amazing how even simple stuff turns complicated, and how my fingers turn to thick immobile blobs when someone’s watching. Not quite that bad, but I did do a few basic oopses. And missed something in a protocol, but it was a bit confusing as we were changing things on the fly. It was a mock-up of a real run through of the protocol, so we didn’t have some items thawed, I just pretended by adding the right volume of another liquid. They laughed, when I changed the rack position of the epindorf tube for each ‘type’ of additive.

Off to lunch with the postdoc. We decided on the way over that this was just lunch, not interview, so we chatted about non work stuff for the most part.

And then a chat outside with another two lab members. I got the impression that one of them has been having a few troubles with the wet lab work, as she doesn’t have the background, and is feeling a bit frustrated with how things are being handled. So we talked a bit about how I would deal with problems. One of her first questions was how I would handle the different levels, meaning staff, postdocs, PhDs, MScs, etc when they were having troubles following a protocol properly. The question perplexed me at first, she did seem to be suggesting that they might be dealt with differently. I told her that I’d handle the situation more based on who I was speaking with than what status they had in the lab, that I don’t really see myself treating say a MSc student differently than a postdoc. When she made her situation a little more clear, that she felt intimidated by the lab work and uncertain, I decided to go a bit further, since my answers had been a bit wishy-washy. I told her that in her case, I would sit down with her to talk about it, and perhaps work with her in the lab, to find out where the problems were and find a way to help her make things work. One of the things that they both expressed difficulty dealing with was remembering where everything went in the hood – tips, plates, where do you throw out your gloves? So I said that if this was the main problem of confusion, I’d suggest drawing up a map together, for each protocol, showing where in the hood everything went. This way they’d have something to refer to, instead of just trying to remember.

UGH. And I just realized something. I had the tips in the ‘line’ of travel from the plate to the biowaste bag. Or did I? I think they were just back from it. I think. OH well, can’t do squat about it now, and the postdoc did seem to make it clear to me that he hopes I get the position. So couldn’t have been that big a deal. That’s the sort of thing they can say, “Oh, by the way,” about later.

So, that’s the story. I have no clue when I’ll hear back. I do know that they’ve started calling my references – I stopped to chat with people in zoology on the way back, and saw Trish, who is one of my references. I’d think if they couldn’t get hold of everyone in the list today, then Tuesday, and I surely must be the last of the people they’re doing this with (yes, there were others, I asked). So then a few days to decide. I’m going to give it a week before I start expecting to hear back.

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