coolohoh: Biohazard (Biohazard)
[personal profile] coolohoh
This is going to be a really long update.

So brace yourselves.

My long time readers would know how I can get really, really long winded at times. And I bet this will be one of those posts.

Protip: You really don't have to read my entries.

Anyhow. So... I actually started this post like... Last week maybe? But never got round to typing more than a few sentences. Finally decided to be hardworking and get writing today. Like. I finally updated Nihongo Manabu after like... A whole month of silence. Yeah. Finally.

And where did I do it? At work lol.

Because unsup was busy finishing up a stupid report... And I was lazy and decided to push some lab work till tmr. But well, unsup was hard at work typing... So I decided that I should write something too. Even though what I'm writing is definitely NOT work.

So yeah.

At least... after so long... I finally wrote *something*. Even though it was more of a blog post than what a typical NM post should be. (Then again, what should a typical NM post be like?)

Anyway. Been.... I've had a crazy month. Or two. Or three. Ok. It's been a crazy year. Starting from a few bombs exploding, to me wondering if unsup is trying to kill me sometimes... to octavia visiting sg and us running all around SG over the course of 3 days - amazingly, very, very amazingly, I didn't actually strangle her till the very last minute. We didn't actually kill each other. Cool eh?

Well. Back on that stupid report... Ok. The project probably isn't stupid...? But I don't know anything about it so I can't judge. What's stupid though, and really it's not about the project, but rather, the people... Is that they are probably worst than me when it comes to doing last minute work. Poor unsup. I really don't get why they drag someone who's leaving at the end of the month into a new project. I guess because they don't have microbiologists. And they don't want to hire somebody. Now they're probably all thinking that it's fine, they have me. Ha! Heard that someone will be coming soon. We'll see if the new person shows up first, or I manage to find a new job first. Well... I'm just so out of energy these days to send out any applications. Nah. You can say I'm just lazy. Idk. I should have just stuck to my original plan of starting to find jobs next month. But... meh. Sometimes it's tempting to just take the easy road. Stay here and slack. But... Really... When will I slack to? I'll most likely end up doing nothing again. Or doing things like what I was called in to do last week - routine, simple, and boring. Or. Getting called to actually help with some bio stuff. But not being able to help at all because I know way, way too little. So either I'll die of boredom, work overload (in too short time), or because I don't know how to do things. Sure it'll be nice to have plenty of time to slack. I'll probably write a ton again. But it sure as hell won't be useful for my PhD applications. If at the end of the year, after all these slacking, I still have the drive to apply for a PhD.

At the same time I wonder. Is there really somewhere better in Sg? Somewhere... With a better environment for really doing research? I don't know. There probably is. A colleague went off to another institute and she thinks it's great there. But then again, she's been there for about a week... And sadly they don't do work I really want to do.

That's the main reason why I want out. I'm sick of searching around in this tiny island. Encountering more of the same. It's so, so tiny anyway, that I really don't have much choice.

Oh where was I again. Yes, last week.

So well...

Last Wednesday. I was in the lab, trying to finish up my confocal imaging... When my phone rang. Which is well, really, really unusual. Because I hardly ever call anyone, and nobody hardly ever calls me. I'm more of the messaging person. And even then... I don't really message my real life, non-met online friends (ok, I message unsup a lot these days, mostly about work. What else?).

So anyway. My phone started vibrating. And it was from unsup. Which was really unusual. Because we usually just message. That was probably the first time she called. That I can remember anyway. So she asked if I was in the lab (I was, I just started on confocal!), and to go to the office. Hmm. Ok. That was weird. Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind, again, was what I'd done wrong to warrant a summon like that. Nope. Turns out to be a meeting. The new project she was put into had a report due in exactly a week's time. And they had a crap ton of experiments to do. And who else could she turn to really? I am her only underlining. let's just say that the whole, very last minute thing put both of us in a terrible mood. Didn't help that the other people in the project seems to be absolutely useless when it comes to doing experiments.

Like there was this guy... Whom I hereby bestow the nickname of Mr. H2O on. Well. Sometime back unsup asked me to help autoclave some culture medium and leave it on her table because mr. water needed it. But a couple of days passed and the medium sat happily and blissfully on the table still. Curious as to whether Mr. Water had actually carried out the experiment, I asked. Turns out that... *drumroll* Mr. Water had actually grew the bacteria cultures in... *more drumroll* water! Like, plain, mili Q water. Bravo. Of course. Nothing grew. Like... seriously? Ok. Bacteria have cell walls so they won't burst from the osmotic pressure... Eukaryotic cultures would have all burst open and died already... But... food? Nutrients...? Geez. And apparently that guy has done a PhD! (Though it's still in the midst of being confirmed or something...) Gosh. He's still better than a particular rf in terms of intelligence though, that I would have to admit.

What absolutely pissed me off though, was when he came to ask unsup about how his part of the experiment should be done... and he started complaining that the parameters he had to measure was way too much. WTF. He only had to do a total of 4 conditions. I was tasked to measure the exact same parameters, the same number of times, for 28 samples. AND. He was given a helper. I had to do all the damn thing alone. And he had the galls to complain saying that he had other projects to deal with. Well guess what? Me and unsup have a ton of other stuff to deal with too. Wtf. And if him and gang hadn't screwed up earlier, we probably wouldn't be doing all that shit so last minute. Listening to him talk made me screw up my momentum/routine and I ended up doing trying to juggle one too many things in my left hand... And ended up dropping the culture. I wonder if he really didn't notice I dropped the whole tube or he did but just pretended he didn't see and continued talking to unsup. I was working in the same hood as unsup and he was just like, half a meter away, facing in my direction. I heard the most exasperated squeal from unsup that day. (Heck, I totally cursed too.)

Ok fine. I don't know exactly who screwed up that whole shit. Because I'm not involved at all... Just a last minute pitch hitter as always. Not the first time, and won't be the last time. And the horrid thing about being that person they turn to for last minute help is that... You're never in any project. Therefore you're never acknowledged. Even though you save their asses in times of trouble no one will remember you... Because all you did was help out at the very last minute. Being their robot and doing the experiments... Without even really knowing what's going on in the project. You're not even part of the project. Full stop. After over 2 years of working here... I was never actually, really part of any project. Even the first project I was 'in', that I tell people I was in. My name was never actually officially on the project. Sigh. All I've been doing is running little errands that really get me nowhere... Till I met unsup that is. Thank goodness I met unsup.

But well.

I don't blame unsup for using me as a scrap goat (her words, not mine) last week because well... It's not like she wasn't dragged into the thing herself. (You can say she was the first... victim...)

So it was last Thursday... That the main experiment took place and all my work came rushing in. We started late and by the time the sample came in for the first measurement of all the parameters... It was like... almost 5pm or something. Needless to say, I won't be going home early that day. She asked if I could leave some stuff till the next day... But I wanted to get as much done that evening as I could. There were 3 things I was supposed to measure... Unsup was kinda questioning the need for one of them because it seemed redundant. I remarked that the project leader was probably just trying to make sure all his bases are covered... And since I don't really know enough about the two parameters, and have no idea about the project and what they are trying to measure... And I won't be the one writing the report, I can't say a thing about it and I'll just get the measurements done anyway.

She finished up her part and left first for dinner, but not before trying to convince me that I should leave some stuff till tmr if it gets too late. Then it turns out that she'll be having dinner around the area and she said before leaving that she'll call me when she's done with dinner and if I'm not done yet, she'll come back and help.

Are you kidding me?

That she even cared was more than enough for me. In fact, she even asked if I could stay late to do the stuff - when I was mentally prepared the moment I was dragged into the meeting. She didn't even have to ask. It was my job, whether I like it or not. No way should I be letting her come back to help me. There probably isn't that much that she could help to really speed things up anyway... So it'll just be a waste of her time. She should just, go back home, take care of her baby, and get some sleep. Plus. Did I mention that I always show up to work late anyway?

I didn't say it outright but just told her to eat slower. Lol.

Ok fine, since she said she'll call... I put my phone on the bench so I could at least see if she's calling. Then about maybe... half an hour or so later, when I was nowhere near done... She called. I was like "What? You're done already?" I just really didn't want her to come back. No least to see how slow I felt like I was working.

But no, turns out that she did some reading up about the parameters and decided to just ignore one of it. Ok. Kinda sucks that I missed her messages earlier and had almost finished the prep for that parameter already. But thinking back. Yeah. It once again shows why she's different from the other researchers here. She has the galls to do what's right. To take the responsibility. Something that is sorely lacking in many of the 'leaders' here, including my ex-boss in the previous company. Really, taking responsibility is one of the very many things that is essential in a leader. Or worker. It's something that office workers in Sg push around daily, making people and things go around in endless loops, because no one wants to shoulder the responsibility to get anything done. And it really hurts the organisation and the people they should be serving. I've seen it happen so many times in the HR and it pisses me off so much each time.

Anyway... I continued on with my experiments. Partly relieved at having one less thing to do. I was nearing the end when I saw her message asking how I was doing. I just continued on because I wanted to finish up asap. My gloves were dirty anyway. Then she called. Fulfilling her promise that she would call when she was done with dinner. Of course I picked up. It really wasn't even that late anyway. Wasn't even 8 yet when she called.

While packing up I met Mr. Water in the lab... Who innocently asked why I was still in the lab. Seriously felt like whacking him... Sure he stayed late too, but I believe he went for dinner already. I've not eaten!

The most touching thing though, was when I finally finished cleaning up and went back to the office... To find a pack of biscuits and instant cereal on my desk. I had half a donut left over from lunch, and also a stash of the same instant cereal somewhere in my drawer... But... Gah. She's just too nice. I didn't even stay till that late! It's not like it was 12 midnight or something already... (that would have been bad without a proper dinner first though, my gastric would have long acted up).

Compared to what I experienced before, really, she's an angel. Even more angelic than an angel maybe.

Compared to how I regularly worked over 12 hours a day at my previous company... How we stayed up till past midnight more than once, and most of the time when the boss just went home and sleep - it's a small company, just 3 of us, including the boss! The boss who kept wanting to macro-manage, yes, you read that right, macro, not micro, when it's just a pathetic 3-4 man company. How that time, she asked me and my co-worker to bid in an auction for second hand lab equipment, but she didn't give us a proper budget or guidance... The auction started at like.. 6pm or something. She was out meeting goodness-knows who. Later around 7pm she called to say she was having dinner. I thought she'd come back for the auction that was still on-going. Because really, how would we know what the heck she wanted to buy, when she didn't tell us beforehand? Nope, she enjoyed her dinner then went home. Or the time when me and my co-worker rushed to finish the final project report, and she only showed up when we were almost done, at 11+ pm, because she had 'social obligations' to attend. I had just joined the company but I was writing most of the report. She basically just showed up at the very end to submit the report (online submission) before the due date at 12 midnight. Oh have I talked about the times when she scolded - like really shouted, at the top of her voice - to me and my co worker for mistakes that were entirely hers to begin with? I don't even know why she's pushing the blame to us. It's not like she has superiors to report to. She was the boss. It's her own company. She can blame us for all I care. It's not my company. I'll just leave. She wasn't even paying me well anyway. Not to mention that her scientific knowledge was worst than what I knew as a sec 4 student. Or that she refused to make any decisions because she couldn't bear to shoulder any responsibility.


I was so sick and tired of all that shit. It didn't matter that my current workplace wasn't in the right field, and therefore wasn't a good fit. It was heaven compared to the hell hole I was in. I needed a break from everything, and this job provided it. Especially at the beginning when I was still recovering from my broken ankle. I basically showed up to work in crutches. Did some data entry if there was any work to be done at all. Then went home. Ok, my old boss did give me this thick set of notes from a masters course regarding the field they were working on. Which I actually finished reading (I had nothing to do remember) and gave me the foundation I would need to at least understand the work they did. And then later on when I had to be back in crutches again after getting a bone infection by staph aureus, I once again found plenty of time to kill at work. And I wrote... here on LJ. I wrote fics. And I read. Websites, books... I read the whole Harry Potter series at work too, though that was after the first project I was in had finished and I had nothing better to do. So yeah. Basically it was a pretty good deal... Because I was getting paid for doing my own stuff.

That's what's tempting me... though I'm also doubting if I'd really go back to being THAT free, now that everyone is coming to me for molecular biology stuff. Just within a week, I've had four people ask me about qPCR. Now that I'm established as the 'bio person', I think I'd become quite busy indeed. Again, helping people here and there, but really getting nowhere myself.

So that's how I met an angel. Well. More like, how I believe that I've truly met an angel.

There's barely just 20 days left for us together. Till the next month rolls around and I'd be thrown into the dark pit of eternal loneliness. It'll be like when she was on maternity leave, only much, much worst. I'll look at her empty desk everyday. And her bench. Gosh. I'll probably just ask her to leave her things as is and move over to her bench. Because she has this extra cabinet at the corner and we need that to keep all the stuff in... Stuff that... should be going to me because who else is doing biology? Gosh I don't even know who I'll give my stuff to when I leave. Like you know, if I find another job.

Sigh. 21 more days. Time flies by so fast. I'm cherishing every day, every moment we share together. 21 days... I have no idea how we can finish everything up... But somehow we'll have to. I know it'll work out. Somewhere or another I've always managed to work things out anyway. Somehow... We'll make things work. I have to. I don't have any choice really. It's do or die. This will be the only way I can get a solid proof of having done any work at all in all my time on this job. And boy would I need that proof for my PhD applications.

Speaking again of the applications...

I really have to thank unsup. Think I talked about how she's a major science nerd too (oh yeah, and the microscope is now with me, whoohoo! Another thing I have to thank unsup for...) a while back. Yup. It's 100% tried and proven. She's even more of a nerd than I ever was. All I did, was name my lj comm DNA. What she would have liked to do, was find a husband with a last name starting with A and name her kid with the initials DNA. Geez! Her kid! He/she would be the laughing stock of classmates for years to come! I'd never wish that on my child. (Thankfully, her husband's last name doesn't start with A.)

All that... Love, passion, desperation for science... All the love songs that I sang to chemistry... The enthusiasm I felt in secondary school. It has all come rushing back. All that science nerdiness that lived on merely in the background has come to the foreground again. It's like what happened when I met HHX. Or when I followed flee around the lab. The little spark that just combusts, explodes even, when it meets another like minded spark.

I need to be around people. People who have that same love and adoration for all things scientific as I have. Because still. Even after so many years... my own flame is too small, too weak alone. Maybe it's the environment, that doesn't supply enough oxygen. Maybe it's because I don't give it enough fuel. I don't know. What I do know is that... Perhaps the greatest gift unsup has given me... More than anything and everything else that she ever taught me, was the gift of fire. Lighting up my flame once more.

It won't last though. That I know after having it nearly extinguished one too many times. I have to keep it up somehow... Otherwise I won't have that momentum by the time the next PhD application period rolls around in 9 months. I have to make it. Have to. Have to get out of here. Out of this overly sterile country that only focuses on quick economic gains. I guess it's can't be helped, that the gov focuses on economic gains so much. We're too small a country. Too vulnerable. But unfortunately, that just doesn't work in research.

I want out. I've had enough. I want to see how people elsewhere work on science because they really like it. Not because they have no idea what they want to do in life, and decide to just apply for PhD because that's the next thing they can study after graduating with a degree. I've had enough of that shit. I want to see people who are really passionate about what they do. People who are really passionate about science. People like unsup...

It's really in the last two month or so that we got so close. That she started making fun of my nerd side and I start realising how much more of a nerd she is. We were certainly getting closer before that, but I was never one to move fast. She was, in my dictionary, my supervisor after all.

But after she told me she was leaving. Heck. To hell with that. She never really treated me like I was a subordinate anyway, I was just afraid to get close. Now really... we're more friends than colleagues. Went for an heritage trail (amazing race style) last Sunday but I guess I'll save that for the next post.

Ok. I think that's enough content for this one post!

Phew. That took really long to write.

Congratulations for making it to the end of the post!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-03-09 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]'s so sad to see a friend of yours migrate :(

Lucky I never have one of those in my life currently, but when I was six, I had three friends and they all left at the same time. I just felt unhappy in Grade 3 for some second.

August 2017



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