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A work-related rant

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
It will probably help if I explain that I'm a lab tech.

One of our clients came by to pick up his cell lines. My boss had e-mailed me and told me he was coming and told me to get ready. I'm very organized so I really didn't feel I needed to do anything to be ready. The culture medium is organized alphabetically, and the cell lines themselves are also ordered alphabetically in the freezer.

I was busy freezing down some other cells when they guy came, so I asked my boss to get his medium and cell lines for him. She says "Where are they?" and I said "On the N-S" rack, because the guy's name starts with S. This system of organizing things has been in place for years before I came and my boss has worked in this lab for several years, so she knows the system. She just never thinks to look for anything in the place where it should be. On the weekends, when I'm off, she's constantly calling me to ask where stuff is, and I tell her, and the place I tell her is right where it should be.

Here is the exact e-mail she sent, but I took her name out.
Rachel,

Please prepare Solter's samples, sera and media for him to pick up. He
might come over on Monday.

Thanks,

Apparently, she wanted me to place the cell lines in a ziploc bag. I didn't think this was necessary since they're neatly on the rack, but she's convinced we'll give someone the wrong thing ie, someone else's stuff. (Note: I have never, ever done this in over 3 years that I've been here) I don't know what she wanted me to do with the medium. They are in liquid form. The last time I put someone's medium in a bag for them, she was unhappy because the liquid got all over the inside of the cap of the tubes. When I pointed that out, she said she meant the frozen cell lines. She also wants me to make them a list to take with them of what we have given them. OK, fair enough, but does it say that in the e-mail? Furthermore, we have our own list on the project sheet, where I have carefully listed all cell lines that were frozen down.

Also, a few cell lines had to be frozen twice, and there's medium left over from each freezing. The reason is because she goofed and left them in the refrigerator instead of putting them in the -80 degrees celsius freezer. There was one that I froze the Monday after the weekend that she goofed. That one only had one tube of medium because it had just been frozen once. She kept insisting that there were two and asking me where the rest was. I told her that one was only frozen once. I also told her that everything I froze was put on that N-S rack (because that's where it's supposed to go). Then I tried telling her I didn't know where the rest was. She was like "How can you not know." And I said "Because there isn't any more."

OK, now comes the rant part. So she's making out a list for him, and she's taking forever because she keeps looking at the same tubes over and over again, still thinking there should be two of everything when I've explained to her why there's not. So as she's taking all this time, the guy gets a parking ticket because he didn't put enough money in the meter. She says "Oh this is our fault." Then as she's continuing to work, she turns to me and says, "This is all your fault." I was in such shock, I couldn't believe it. I was going to cry, and I didn't want to start crying and look like a butt in front of one of our clients, so I just didn't say a word and I walked out and went downstairs to cool off. It's too cold to go for a walk outside, especially since I didn't grab my coat.

I came back once the guy was gone, but I'm still feeling like I'm going to cry. OK, I really hope no one walks in right now.....Ugh! Now I am crying, can't let her see, can't let her see.

Anyway, if you actually read this whole thing, I appreciate it, really. I'm going to do some more work now.
post #2 of 17
Ohh I'm sorry...just takes something like this to ruin your day
post #3 of 17
Aww don't feel bad. It sounds like you did everything perfectly. Your boss is the one that screwed up. She's just blaming you to take the blame off herself. If your upset enough to cry you should try talking to her about what happened. If your scared to tell her face to face, it might be easier to explain how she makes you feel in an email. Don't be rude, you don't want to loose your job, but be clear about your feelings.
post #4 of 17
I don't have anything to add but I hope your day gets better.
post #5 of 17
sorry you have a dopey boss! it'll be ok
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaireBear View Post
Aww don't feel bad. It sounds like you did everything perfectly. Your boss is the one that screwed up. She's just blaming you to take the blame off herself. If your upset enough to cry you should try talking to her about what happened. If your scared to tell her face to face, it might be easier to explain how she makes you feel in an email. Don't be rude, you don't want to loose your job, but be clear about your feelings.
I appreciate the suggestion, but I don't feel comfortable talking to her even over e-mail. I have tried talking to her before, trying to defend myself, and she just won't listen, she'll just say the same thing over and over again, that I screwed up, that I should've done this and that. It's also hard for me to do because she's a really nice person, just a bad boss.

Usually I am the one giving people their stuff, and it's easy for me to just grab it right off the rack when they get there. If her e-mail had said make a list, then I would've. I feel like she didn't communicate clearly enough what she wanted. But I'm just shocked and dismayed that she'd blame for this guy getting a parking ticket and right in front of him. How do you think that makes me look to the clients? Real professional, right?
post #7 of 17
That stinks!

She is obviously threaten by your competency at the job. By a lottery ticket...maybe you'll win and you can tell her off and quit
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for the support. It really does make me feel better. I'm going to eat my lunch soon, and relax and read the newspaper, although I'm not going out, but I think it'll make me feel better.
post #9 of 17
My only suggestion is next time she sends you an e-mail like that, reply to her and ask her to tell you exactly what she wants you to do?
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
That stinks!

She is obviously threaten by your competency at the job. By a lottery ticket...maybe you'll win and you can tell her off and quit
Thing is, I really love my job, or I would've left already. She's getting her PhD as well as doing her job supervising me. Finals are coming next month, and when she gets stressed out, she gets really bad.

Plus, if I left it would really mess her up. I'm the only technician here and since I work for a university it would take a bare minimum of 3-4 months to hire a new one and another 3-4 months to train him or her, even if they're experienced in research. So it would really screw up her progress in the PhD program.

I got a job offer in March, doing pretty much what I do now, but it was a start-up company, and I was worried about whether they'd still be around in a year, so I didn't take it. Most start-ups fail.
post #11 of 17
Since you work for a University, talk to the HR department regarding the work relationship you have with your boss. You can have someone with you when you meet with your boss in order to address an issue. Universities have different rules regarding hiring and firing than the "outside world."
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrldsky View Post
Since you work for a University, talk to the HR department regarding the work relationship you have with your boss. You can have someone with you when you meet with your boss in order to address an issue. Universities have different rules regarding hiring and firing than the "outside world."
Yeah, I'm not worried about job secuirity, per se. But it's only me and her in the lab, so if I make a complaint, she'll know who it came from. What I'm more afraid of is her making my life more difficult, if you know what I mean. A boss can make you pretty miserable if they want to.

Gosh, I just sound like I'm rejecting everyone's suggestions, don't I? I don't mean to come across that way....Sorry!
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurrPaws View Post
Yeah, I'm not worried about job secuirity, per se. But it's only me and her in the lab, so if I make a complaint, she'll know who it came from. What I'm more afraid of is her making my life more difficult, if you know what I mean. A boss can make you pretty miserable if they want to.

Gosh, I just sound like I'm rejecting everyone's suggestions, don't I? I don't mean to come across that way....Sorry!
If she does anything that is harassment, then she should be reported and written up. However, you can always research your options as far as work environment goes at (UIUC?) your University. There are policies in place to protect employees.

I'm sorry you have to deal with all of that. It really sucks...
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurrPaws View Post
Thing is, I really love my job, or I would've left already. She's getting her PhD as well as doing her job supervising me. Finals are coming next month, and when she gets stressed out, she gets really bad.

Plus, if I left it would really mess her up. I'm the only technician here and since I work for a university it would take a bare minimum of 3-4 months to hire a new one and another 3-4 months to train him or her, even if they're experienced in research. So it would really screw up her progress in the PhD program.

I got a job offer in March, doing pretty much what I do now, but it was a start-up company, and I was worried about whether they'd still be around in a year, so I didn't take it. Most start-ups fail.

I see I was thinking non university/medical lab type lab....yea that does suck...well, only 2-3 more weeks right until the semester is over right? Plus just think you get Thursday and Friday away from her for a little R&R.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, I've calmed down and I'm feeling a lot better now! Whew! Thanks for letting me rant. TCS is so therapeutic.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
I see I was thinking non university/medical lab type lab....yea that does suck...well, only 2-3 more weeks right until the semester is over right? Plus just think you get Thursday and Friday away from her for a little R&R.
And tomorrow (Wednesday) too. I won't have to see her again until Monday, and if she calls my cell phone, maybe I'll just ignore it.

DH and I are going to see The Pirate Queen in Chicago tomorrow. We're going to a matinee, so darn, it just required taking the whole darn day off!
post #17 of 17
Well, I can sympathize with you in part....the PI who is my supervisor occasionally ventures out into the lab to "find" something, and never can.
She is the one who organized it ALL, and she was OCD about it: there are labels EVERYWHERE. For example, where is the GnRH antibody? In the fridge that has "Antibodies" on the door, In the Box labelled "G"....
argh!
There is always demand for a good lab tech, so yea, I agree you dont need to worry about your job. Im glad you're feeling better: you took a hit this am, but in the end of it all its your supervisor who looks worse. If you dont want to make an issue specifically over this beyond ranting, just make a note of it somewhere, so if something like iti happens again and you need to make the issue, youll have the correct details from this example.
Interestingly, the husband of someone very close to me - Peter Lamb is the Production Manager for Pirate Queen...he sent us a lot of pictures when it was being set up etc, and I wish I could go!
Hope you love it
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