Sunday, November 4, 2012

That sound you heard was me screaming FML

I'm behind on NaBloPoMo already. Oh well. After Friday I needed to take some time off. From everything. Let me set the stage....

After months of working on optimizing this brand new assay, I finally have it working(ish-- the assay has to be optimized for each cell line, but that's not as technically challenge as getting the thing to work in the first place). I spent the month of October gathering data using this particular assay for a departmental talk I have to give to my new department this coming Thursday. This data will also be used for my EB abstract that is due this coming Thursday (edit: I just saw an email saying the deadline has been extended until the 13th, but I think my abstract still has to be done by the 8th to apply for travel money). Last week was spent analyzing the data I had gathered.

On Friday I was in our collaborator's lab, who furnishes us with a reagent (it's relatively expensive and it's a trade agreement between our labs). I was talking to the technician who makes up this particular reagent and we were discussing a strange result someone else saw involving this reagent. In the course of this conversation we realized that she used the wrong bottle when making this up. Completely invalidating my data and another lab's data. Ruining 50% of the data I was going to present on Thursday and put in my abstract. 

I was rather unhappy. However, the tech was almost in tears. The tech completely understood the magnitude of hir mistake. I just couldn't bring myself to get mad at hir, since the tech was obviously so upset. Instead I complained about hir on twitter and about how much my life sucked. 

Now, I'm no saint. I ranted and raved to Dr. Man over wine about how awful this was and used extreme foul language. And I'll ask the tech to help me with some data processing this week. Ripping zie a new one won't help get me new data, but using the guilt to get another pair of hands will help. 


TitleTroubles said...

Wow. That's...just wow. (I'd have probably been unable to yell at tech, too. But I'd have really, really wanted to.)

On the other--you might want to check that deadline. I just got an e-mail from my boss that, at least for my topic category, abstracts just have to be submitted by the 13th even for travel award requests. I have a similar problem. I can't think of an abstract to write. Since I'm doing a collaborative project, one-third of the data belongs to one group, one-third another, and my lonely third, being the functional characterization of theirs, is the last to get done. (i.e. I haven't got enough data to know what story I'll have, if any.) Fun times...

Jennie said...

That's tough, but good the mistake was found out. I'm glad you didn't get angry at tech. We are all human and make mistakes. Some just suck more than others.

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