Archive for: August, 2012

the hiring crap-shoot

Aug 28 2012 Published by under hiring, tenure-track OTJT

One of the hardest things of running a lab is hiring decisions. At least it is for me. My group is not so large yet (< 10 people), so we are pretty susceptible to the "dominant negative". If one person is a drag it can really slow things down. For everyone. I've been thinking about this a lot recently, because I'm in the process of hiring a technician. The first tech I hired I ended up firing, and that SUCKED. I really want to have a better outcome this time.

I had many, many applicants to the job that I posted, and I screened through CVs looking for those that had some relevant experience. And were able to write coherent sentences. I tried not to get too upset when folks claimed "proficiency in word"* or "excellent manual dexterity"** I narrowed down to about 8 that looked reasonable, and then I contacted references by phone. I feel like phone calls give me a chance to get somewhat "off the record" responses, and they take less effort than a letter. After talking to references I brought in four people for interviews. This is where things get difficult. There are two folks that I think would be good. HOW TO CHOOSE??

Seriously, I'm having a hard time here. Both of the candidates are fresh out of undergrad and looking to work in a lab for a bit before they go off for an advanced degree. They both have some undergrad research (not just lab courses), though one has slightly more experience here. All the references loved them, etc etc. I feel like it is now a crap shoot. No matter what I choose, it could be a disaster (or not), and one person is going to be disappointed.

I'm pretty sure it is bad for morale if I hire them both for a month and let them compete it out, Hunger Games style. Right?


*This is code for "I don't really know how to use computers but I can kinda turn them on and open really easy programs". ugh.


29 responses so far

welcome back, gerty

Aug 22 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I'm now back from my sort-of-unplanned hiatus. Turns out that having friends then family in town and then also going to a conference make it nearly impossible to keep up with blogging. Hell, I barely even checked in on twitter. Who'd have thunk it?  TBH, it was kind of nice to disconnect for a bit. A little separation from some of the super-depressing news that seems to fall out every. fucking. day. For example, "legitimate rape". UGH. Sadly, I didn't miss that one. I'm so pissed by the whole thing I just...there are no words. I must have the rape fatigue (<-- This is a great essay, BTW). There are so many other great posts about this. I obviously can't link to them all. So yeah, nothing like an election season to really get people talking. FFS.

But now I'm back. I've had a little bit of time to relax before the school year starts up again. And before the election season really heats up. Yay?


3 responses so far

Kickstarter: Biology of Sexual Orientation

Aug 06 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I have recently run across a kickstarter project that looks pretty interesting. S. Marc Breedlove, at Michigan State, wants to make a high-quality documentary about the science of sexual orientation. He will host scientists to give seminars (that are open to the public) and then, while they are in East Lansing, the scientists will be interviewed for the video.

I think it sounds like it could be a great project. Head over there and learn more about it. It sounds like a good project that is worth supporting.

No responses yet

Staying out of the fray

Aug 02 2012 Published by under queer, Uncategorized

OK, one more. I'm a little worked up over the whole thing.

I know that some people are avoiding the whole Chick-Fil-A thing. These are generally good people. They didn't go to CFA yesterday, and generally support their gay friends. But they are being silent on the whole issue. Not posting/tweeting about it. Just ignoring the whole thing. Because they only eat at CFA a few times a year anyway, so it's not that big a deal. Not worth getting into those arguments. I get it. It can be exhausting to argue with people about these things. But right now we need allies. This is why I <3 Dr. Isis so very much. Just realize, that your silence means something, too. I refer you once again to the excellent post at Owldolatrous Productions (Srsly, go read it. Then tweet it, share it, etc.).

But what are you guilty of? When you see a bully beating up a smaller kid and you don’t take a side, then you ARE taking a side. You’re siding with the bully. And when you cheer him on, you’re revealing something about your own character that really is a shame.


10 responses so far

More than a sandwich

Aug 02 2012 Published by under exhaustion, queer, Uncategorized, venting

Yesterday, a lot of people apparently went to stand in a long line to buy a fast-food chicken sandwich. Some of these people claim to be supporting "The First Amendment" against "Intolerant Liberal Thought Police". Or something. But really, they just wanted to make a point that they hate The Gays.

First, let's clear somethings up:

1. This has nothing to do with free speech. Dan Cathy can say whatever he wants, and he (and THE COMPANY) can give their money to whomever they please. And anyone can go to Chick-Fil-A anytime they want (except Sunday), though that is probably not the healthiest choice. No one is suggesting that either of these activities  should be made illegal.

2. Boycotts are widely used as a mechanism for consumers to demonstrate that they disagree with a stand that a company takes. Some "christians" have urged a boycott of Starbucks after they publicly supported marriage equality. This is their right, just as it is my right to advocate a boycott of CFA because they fund hate groups.

3. Intolerant. I'm not sure that folks understand what that means. If someone gives money to a group that works to limit my rights (and the validity of my family), I may express outrage. I am not the intolerant one in this scenario. There is a great post on the Owldolatrous Productions that one of my Actual Friends* posted on FB.

Asking for “mutual tolerance” on this like running up to a bully beating a kid to death on the playground and scolding them both for not getting along. I’m not trying to dissolve Mr. Cathy’s marriage or make his sex illegal. I’m not trying to make him a second-class citizen, or get him killed. He’s doing that to me, folks; I’m just fighting back.

If you went to Chick-Fil-A yesterday to "show support", think about what you actually did. You gave money to a company that will turn around and give some of their profits (your money) to groups that work to make it illegal to be homosexual. Not just to oppose marriage equality. The hate rhetoric that regularly flows from these organizations goes way beyond just opposing marriage equality. And if you go on twitter or FB to gloat about what you did, you have just told your gay "friends" that you went out of your way to stand in a long line for a shitty chicken sandwich as a demonstration of how much you despise them. And trust me, you have gay friends. They may not tell you (can you blame them?), but you most certainly do.

Think about this next time you want a chicken sandwich, or waffle fries or whatever. In effect, YOU are giving money to these groups. Groups that make it fucking hard for ACTUAL PEOPLE, including me and my family. Groups that work to ensure a culture and policies that contribute to high suicide rate in GLBT kids that have to grow up in this environment. I haven't eaten at CFA in many, many years. But I can't imagine any chicken sandwich being so good that it is worth this. There is no piece of food so awesome that it could ever convince me to give money to the KKK or any other hate group.

For me, it's personal. The boycott of CFA isn't about the first amendment. It isn't about religion, or however you define "traditional" or "biblical" marriage. It's about my family. I hope they fucking go out of business. I hope society stands up and says "this is not OK". I hope that people who care so much about the bible pay more attention to the "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" part. I'm not optimistic that will happen.


Here are some other perspectives, from someone else that got upset with their FB feed yesterday, and from a CFA employee. I wish that everyone that worked at CFA and felt this way would quit, even though I understand that this might not seem like a viable option.

*I grew up in a big red state. I have quite a few posts on my FB timeline gloating about going to CFA. These people obviously don't value my friendship.

7 responses so far

Just an example of why I

Aug 02 2012 Published by under hilarity, queer

Yesterday, Dr. Isis (@drisis if you are on twitter and don't follow, then WTF?)  took to the twitter and demonstrated why I <3 her so, so much. She started fighting back against the idiots and bigots that were bragging about their day of eating greasy chicken sandwiches w/ a side of hate. She even got blocked by Scott Baio!

Other awesome tweeps joined in (YAY to you all!), and of course Drug Monkey (@drugmonkeyblog) kept the #FWDAOTI going. I didn't get to play much, because my mom is in town and I was busy catching up with her. But every time I checked in, it was full of win.

I made a little storify that has a sampling of the awesome. It doesn't have everything, and it's not in the right order, probably. In my defense, it was the first time I storified anything. But you can get the gist. I can't figure out how to make it show up here, but you can see it here. And if you don't want to click through, here is a sample from Dr. Isis's timeline last night. Fucking. Genius.


7 responses so far