July 29, 2016

The other lesson to be drawn from recent political events and applied to science careers is not to let toxic personalities drive the ship. 

Yes this means not giving them control over anything that is really important. 
But it also means not letting them control you to the extent you are reacting to them, more than doing your thing. 

It applies to grant and paper revisions. It applies to the science you do, how you do it and who you choose to work with. 

It means you need to wall the toxic actors off in their own little silo, only dealing with them at need or desire. 

13 Responses to “Toxicity”

  1. Dr24 Says:

    Good advice, challenging to follow.


  2. EPJ Says:

    Quite challenging to do, specifically at papers, grants, or even changing environment. Tha leaves only one thing to do, and it has part a, b, an also c.


  3. drugmonkey Says:

    Our entire US body politic is finding it very challenging to wall off Trump. Of course it is never easy. In the short term it may even be impossible or ill-advised. Play for the long term gain.


  4. mclneuro Says:

    No, Monkey, no. Everyday is a battle. Speak the truth every time you see someone corrupt something for their own gain. Small scientists are watching you and if you walk away, they assume that whatever filth has been tossed about is a-okay with you.

    Bleach the slime daily with UV light or you will have massive overgrowth and no room to do your work.


  5. drugmonkey Says:

    What if I believe that picking your battles is the better training for the junior scientists, mclneuro? What if I believe that you only have one life to live and some shit is just not worth it?

    We just all heard about how H-Rod keeps on battling no matter what. And that’s just what I want in a President. Doesn’t mean everyone needs to be as incredible as she is. Some people have to live their lives or it isn’t really worth it, is it?


  6. Geo Says:

    Some real paranoia here.


  7. Zuska Says:

    I guarantee you even H-Rod has picked her battles (wisely) through the years.


  8. dr24 Says:

    Picking battles wisely is precisely the difference between HRC and Trump, recently. Trump makes himself hostage to every attack, responding to old battles and taking on every new comer, and looking like a fool.

    Hillary lets pointless slander wash off her back, and moves on the issues.

    I used to be very conservative, and am still more conservative than many academics. I could’ve once been convinced perhaps that future me would VOTE for Clinton, but I never would’ve thought I could respect her too.

    But here we are.


  9. drugmonkey Says:

    I’m shocked.


  10. To put this in different language, establishing and enforcing boundaries (personal, political, or professional) is how healthy people deal with the inevitable toxic people, organizations, and events that occur in life.


  11. Jmz4 Says:

    Do you think some PIs make it hard to do that by encouraging an overly chummy atmosphere?
    I’m always struck by some people’s desire to make their lab their primary social vehicle as perhaps creating more conduits for toxic behavior. Academia in general lacks an emphasis on the sort of professionalism that more easily allows for those kind of boundaries to be erected and maintained.


  12. Dave Says:

    I’m on board with this advice. The problem is spotting the wolves dressed up as little cute sheepies.


  13. Bagger Vance Says:

    In unexpected twist, Comradde PhysioProffe comes out strongly in favor of “building a wall.”

    MAGA, brother.


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