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Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

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Re: Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

Postby M. Egdo » Wed May 27, 2015 8:59 pm

Thanks P.C.

Not respond to him and his requests may help. I just found the less I communicate with him, the fewer troubles and stresses I have.
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Re: Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

Postby PG » Fri May 29, 2015 12:41 am

I would advice against this approach since this means that you are not doing your job. In this case as a postdoc or in another scenation as a midddle manager at a companyyou have been assigned with the task to support and train this individual. If you ignore his question you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing. Although tempting I would advice to try picking a route that allows you to perform your job as instructed. If you can move responsibility for this individual to someone else that is OK (although it indicates that you cant handle the situation it still allows you to do your job) but just stopping to answering questions isnt the solution.

The likely outcome is that he will go to your PI and complain and this time he will have the written evidence in the form of e-mails to show that he isnt getting the support he is supposed to be getting.
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Re: Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

Postby P.C. » Fri May 29, 2015 12:14 pm

To follow up on PGs concern, tell the student he as 30 minutes a week to meet with you and make a report, get his marching orders and ask any questions.
That is basically how I was handled as a graduate student. Tell the student it is not allowed to constantly interrupt your work with questions. If necessary provide formal 1 on 1 training.
Make boundries.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain
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Re: Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

Postby John D. D, » Sat May 30, 2015 2:16 am

Hi,

My perspective is a little different because I have worked both in and out of the system.

What I notice is that "middle positions" - between PI and students can become very rank sensitive - that is there is a frustrated need for authority that asserts itself by association with the hierarchical system at the expense of diversity, creativity, and the little guy. This plays out a lot with gender issues too.

If the student loves science, be extra careful not to make your life and work seem "so important" that you can't see their potential contribution and value. If you are a woman supervisor of a male student, recognize that the student may define success as accomplishment without your help, or with you as a "handmaid". Try not to create a conflict over this by repeatedly forcing the issue of rank.

In the end, I think the really important thing is to allow everyone to participate - so find ways to challenge his expectation of your role without looking to the system for validation. Be quiet. Be respectful. And solve your own problems without getting the whole group involved if you can. The student will eventually make it or not, but should be allowed to do science if that is what he wants to do.

In the end, treat every person around you (regardless of rank) as a potential friend and respected colleague, and you will be rewarded for this in the long run by having a lot of people be willing to do things for you when things need to be done.
John D. D,
 
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Re: Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

Postby John D. D, » Sat May 30, 2015 8:50 am

Many people have to work through this problem when they first become a new post-doc somewhere.
John D. D,
 
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PI needs to step up

Postby P.C. » Sun May 31, 2015 11:21 am

The question is amazing and disheartening to me.
I never had a post doc in charge as middle management.
This practice should be illegal and banned.
PIs need to be the managers, not temporary Post doc temporary help.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain
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Re: Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

Postby PG » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:20 am

I like the suggestion from P.C. to make a specific time available for discussions and questions. I would recomend putting that on your list if you are following that advice.
PG
 
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Re: Working with graduate students when you're not a PI.

Postby M. Egdo » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:02 pm

Thank you very much for your advice. And I'm sorry that I haven't had time to reply you earlier.

I will update the situation soon.
M. Egdo
 
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