So, had to go and see Jane. And I managed to tell her how I felt. And she didnt say sorry, but she did seem more civil and listened more.
Here are some of the things I said: M = me J= boss woman
M: I find you intimidating and I find it difficult to explain my thoughts and feelings to you.
J: it’s your own insecurities
J: Why didn’t you come and ask me before Christmas if you could go on holiday, then I would have discussed it with you and let you go
M: I don’t think that would have been the case and at the time I felt like you would have just said no. I already came to discuss it with you 3 times in November and each time you said no, despite me planning out my experiments and trying to discuss it rationaly. I think if I had spoken to Miltos or Hugh then they might have said it was not a good idea but if I was going to go then we would have worked it out. I didn’t think that would happen with you
J: Well Robert agreed with me
M: Well originally he said to me it wasn’t a good time but if I was going to go then I should book it soon and he seemed OK with it until you came in and said otherwise
J: Why would he have changed his mind? (meaning he didnt change his mind)
M: I also feel like this has been drama over nothing, and a power struggle. I feel like you said no just because you could and not for a vaild reason.
J: Why would I need a power struggle? Do you think I need any more power? I already have all the power (or something like this about being the most powerful)
M: I find it difficult that you intrude in my personal life
J: Well you bring your personal life to work more than others and I don’t think I treat you differently from anyone else
M: Well I think you do and others have noticed too, I don’t think it is just me
J: Give me an example
M: Well when I was with my husband you kept telling me to divorce him. When I started going out with Mikey you said you liked my husband better
J: I never said that
M: Yes you did. You said it the week before the lab barbecue after cake day down in the quadrangle in front of at least 4 other people
J: How could I say that I’ve never met Mikey
M: I think you have met him at the Cricket club
J: No I haven’t (Mikey says she has, but, whatever)
J: You can’t change the ground rules, invite me into your personal life then expect me not to be in it
M: I think you change the ground rules every day, one day you’re nice to me, the next you’re mean, one day I think you’re my friend, the next I think you want rid of me
M: I find it difficult to have any confidence because you never give me any positive feedback and I feel rubbish
J: You cant live your life for other people’s approval
M: yes, that’s true but you can’t go on with just negative feedback
J: You have to learn to not take things personally.
J: everything i’ve ever done for you is for your own benefit and what I thought the best for you
M: (after choice from Jane) You are a very persuasive and confident talker and often when I come to speak to you I agree with what you are saying then later on think “No, that’s not what I want at all” and get frustrated. So I am not going to agree on anything now as I want to sleep on it and see if it’s really how I feel or think. Before I felt like I didn’t know my own thoughts because I felt like you were telling me how to think and I don’t want that.
J: You’ll have to decide if you can work with me
M: Talking to you now has been OK but if I was to work here again somethings would have to change I couldn’t go back to being scared to come to talk to you or worried or ashamed of my results
J: that’s your own insecurities
M: I’ll come and see you when I get back and let you know how I feel then, if that’s OK with you.
so those were the major points or the ones I was proud of because I stood my ground. we spoke for an hour and a half and said more too.
Now she has given me 3 options:
1- masters write up with some extra lab work no suspension
2- suspend til easter/summer and change labs (she doesnt think this will work)
3- suspend retrospectively til last October and work in her lab and do stuff on Nephrolepis clonal analysis too and keep going with ferns, she will get me my Phd (I don’t really want to go into 6grand in debt..)
so at the time she was very convincing about continuting with her, but after thinking about that I’m not sure I want that… I def dont want to owe more money and also I’m not sure things would change, it is true that some of it lies within me but I also want to rebuild my confidence and I dont know if that would happen working with jane. I’d like to learn new skills (i.e. if I worked in Miltos lab i could learn some new stuff) and get a paper some day. But the real question is if I want to do the PhD altogether, to separate the jane/project issues from the issue of a career in science altogether. I do get excited by science and I like the idea of a PhD and I like working in the lab, being flexible and having a laugh, but I don’t like failure or repetetive humdrum that ends in disappointment, or the backstabbing competetiveness, or some people that make you think they’re normal when you need to get out the lab and grounded in others. And I am not sure I am very good at science… and I’m not just being down on myself in a woe is me scenario (before Arizaphale jumps on me, and rightly so, thanks mate!) but I don’t know if I am cut out for academia and bench stuff- I think i am OK about thinking about science and asking questions and thinking outside the box but ask me why the same pcr works once and not another time and it just frustrates me! And I am impatient (as I identified earlier, here, warning: contains self righteous self pity) and cant be bothered to do everything anally when I can see a faster simpler way… despite that then makes it hard to identify what when wrong when it doesnt work…
anyways, I am glad I managed to speak to Jane and never mind her responses I am happy I could say how I feel. And tomorrow (well in 5 hrs) I am off to Oz, canny wait. Sun, sea, sand and other things beginning with S.