• Question: Have you ever had someone come in and try to assist you but they do everything wrong? What did you do?

    Asked by Chris to Jonathan, Kellie, Kevin, Melissa, Stephanie on 2 May 2016.
    • Photo: Kevin Baker

      Kevin Baker answered on 2 May 2016:

      If it something dangerous, I will stop them immediately. If it is not dangerous, you just have to take a deep breath and explain what is wrong. Science is all about effective communication, if you yell at someone for making a mistake, that hurts the learning process.

    • Photo: Jonathan Jackson

      Jonathan Jackson answered on 2 May 2016:

      Hi Chris,

      Yes, I have had people who tried to assist me but don’t do things correctly. As Kevin said, effective and kind communication is absolutely critical. We want to keep people safe, but we also want to make sure they can learn from their experiences.

      That said, I think back to when I was the assistant who got everything wrong when I was young. It always helps me be more patient with others who are going through the same thing.

    • Photo: Melissa Wilson Sayres

      Melissa Wilson Sayres answered on 3 May 2016:

      The answer is a little different for computational biology. When we do bioinformatics (at least in my lab), we routinely re-do all of the analyses and re-run all of the pipelines to make sure everything is reproducible. That helps us catch coding errors, and logical errors. New lab members make lots of mistakes, but we work in groups so we can help correct those mistakes.

    • Photo: Stephanie Moon

      Stephanie Moon answered on 3 May 2016:

      Hi Chris,
      That’s definitely happened to me before! I agree with what Kevin said, as long as you figure out a way to communicate with them and get your point across so that everyone is safe, that’s the important thing. I’ve trained a lot of people in the laboratory- how to work with radioactive material, how to use the cell culture hood to grow infectious viruses, etc, so it’s really important that everyone is on the same page and following the rules. I just try to be patient and explain the reason behind all of the rules and regulations and try not to take things personally.

    • Photo: Kellie Jaremko

      Kellie Jaremko answered on 3 May 2016:

      This can be frustrating Chris but as everyone said if someone is trying to help you shouldn’t get upset. This would make a great teaching moment to explain how to do something correctly or let them shadow you. For very important experiments I tried to do much of them myself so that I could talk about it more thoroughly when I presented it. That being said- everyone has to learn sometime. I appreciate the people that helped teach me so I try and return the favor when someone else wants to help out or learn.