You’ve worked too long in a lab when…..

My fellow scientists, you’re not alone in thinking “is it just me….”. Here is a short list of the few crazy things we do, compiled from multiple sources with a few of my own for you to enjoy! For anyone else reading this, I hope this may explain why we are the way we are 🙂

  1. No one in your family has any idea what you do
  2. You use the words “aliquot” and “thaw” in regular sentences
  3. You give lab equipment motivational pep talks or death threats depending on your mood
  4. You start making patterns in your pipette tip box as you take tips out
  5. You’ve wondered what distilled water would taste like
  6. You have a pile of hand-written protocols in the lab that only you can decipher
  7. You’ve used Kimwipes to blow your nose, and thrown it into the chemicals bins
  8. You have taken camilacs home for your spices, or expressed breast milk (yes you do mums!)
  9. You have an endless supply of junk from trade shows at your desk- that you never use but it was free!
  10. You momentarily disappear from social functions because of a “time-point”
  11. You decide which conferences to go to based on where is best to holiday afterwards
  12. You rejoice when grabbing a handful of eppendorfs/bijous/anything and it turns outs to be the exact number you needed
  13. You can very accurately guess the amount of “ul” or “mls” left in a tube
  14. You actually know what “ul” stands for….
  15. You can’t watch CSI without cursing at least one scientific inaccuracy
  16. You wash your hands BEFORE you go to the toilet
  17. You cry when your cells die
  18. You secretly want to autoclave your coffee mug because nothing you do will get rid of the stains
  19. You stop buying open-toed shoes because you won’t be able to wear them to work anyway
  20. You think of cooking as a glorified chemistry experiment
  21. You’ve worked out a trained chimp could do 90% of your work!
  22. You had the Eureka moment, only to find out someone else discovered the same things 10 years ago 🙁

We still love what we do!


2 thoughts on “You’ve worked too long in a lab when…..”

  1. As an engineer who spent lots of time in hardware labs I well understand! For engineers I would add:
    – You tell people you are a firmware engineer and they look at you strangely.
    – You point out during news programs things that are example of closed loop feedback systems.
    – You also point out that Malthus was right and how open loop growth results in eventually exceeding carrying capacity and system collapse.
    – You are amazed that other people don’t see the obvious positive feedback causing nonlinear behavior in things like greenhouse gases.
    – You use the term “firewall” and don’t mean network security.
    – You have used computers all your life but don’t know a thing about Windows operating system or how to fix it.

    • I hear you, loud and clear! It’s so easy for our work to engulf who we are and change the way we see and react to everyday things.
      “Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it” quite a fitting quote I think 🙂

      Thanks for your contribution to the post, all the best.


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