Not much to say this week

Oct 25 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

I haven't had much to say this week. Which isn't true, I just haven't had the mental wherewithal to come up with good ways to say what I have to say. In general, I feel like my head is finally above water after these first two months of crazy town. It's not like any of this is any less crazy, but it doesn't make me feel like I am gonna get a house dropped on me any minute any more.

I have three, THREE rotation students starting next week! And a postdoc starting the week after that. And another postdoc for whom I'm preparing an offer letter, who wants to start in January. This is to add onto my already six-person-strong group, HAH. Although four of them are undergrads, some of those four have been extremely helpful and productive so far. All of my undergrads are wonderful, and each contributes their own unique thing to the lab--but the three ladies in particular have been incredibly competent and independent, and have shown their funny and endearing personalities right away. They are also work-study-cheap to free, which makes them such a lucky addition to the early stages of things here.

I absolutely love the idea of having a big group--I'm pretty good at mental multi-tasking and I have a nearly razor-sharp memory for project details so I haven't had a problem with THAT kind of scatterbrainedness in the past. Hopefully that will hold out once these people and their projects get more sophisticated and varied. I look forward to the day when somebody in my lab publishes a paper where I only have the faintest clue what it was actually about, where I have to read their manuscript drafts to fully understand the awesomely in-depth work they have done on our communal topic. That's when I'll know I've REALLY made it.

One semi-serious worry though: during my budget discussions to decide what I could afford to pay the second postdoc, we saw that some really funky, fishy-looking stuff seems to be going on with my start-up accounts. My business manager thought I couldn't afford another person--which sounded awfully funny to me since I have been keeping an informal tally of my expenditures and should be WAY fine, like completely more than fine, so I was like, "ummm, huh?" So we looked a little closer at my start-up accounts.

For one, there was a strangely innaccurate total amount originally deposited into them... My offer letter said that a certain portion would be there initially and another certain amount would be added in July 2009. There was also an agreement that the second certain amount would be coming from the Cancer Center here, and that all got worked out just fine after I got here. I sort of assumed that Cancer Center amount referred to the July-designated chunk... if so, then I should have had the other first certain amount deposited in total at the beginning. However that amount is NOT the total of my dedicated start-up, but NOR is it the first certain amount minus the second certain amount minus the Cancer Center portion. SO..... the upshot is, HUH? And since all of our accounting is being done via this fuzzzugging RIDONKULOUSLY BAD new SAP system, it is godawfulfrizzicking impossible to follow the money trail and find out WTF is going on.

For two, while trolling through that trainwreck of an accounting system, trying various kinds of searches in an attempt to get the information altogether (which we find, is actually not possible with this craptastic software), we did find some lists of debits from my accounts that have weird doublings-up, with different order numbers but the same dollar amounts, and no apparent description of why. We also found that when we search one way with MY account number, my colleague's name comes up--it labels the account "So-and-so Resrch Incent" where that So-and-so is the other person that was hired on the same time as I was. Aaaaand our start-up amounts were a bit different... which could be why my business office helpers seem to think tht I am running out of money when there is no way I should be already based on the accounting I have been keeping for myself... so....... something weird is going on and I'm going to have to get to the bottom of it. What a pain in the ass.

2 responses so far

  • Comrade PhysioProf says:

    I look forward to the day when somebody in my lab publishes a paper where I only have the faintest clue what it was actually about, where I have to read their manuscript drafts to fully understand the awesomely in-depth work they have done on our communal topic. That's when I'll know I've REALLY made it.No wai!!! That will prove that you are just another evill!!!!! PI who CAN'T DO EXPERIMENTS and is an EXPLOITER OF POSTDOCS and should be EXPELLED FROM SCIENCE!!!111!!!something weird is going on and I'm going to have to get to the bottom of it.HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! Good luck!!!!

  • Arlenna says:

    I'm gonna post more on this topic of whether PIs should be "able to do" every experiment that they get their name on papers for. Because I think most people are extremely naive and short-sighted about it, as you have discussed before.

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