Recently, I've been taking up much more space in the lab. And I don't mean extra body weight. I mean bench space, equipment space, and even desk space. And I need the space.
For equipment, well last year I tentatively asked for Expensive Accessory (EA) for New Fancy Piece of Equipment (New FPE). I do need the EA for experiments that I'm going to do. In fact, it's impossible to do my dissertation with out them. However, our collaborator's lab has the EA for the older version of Fancy Piece of Equipment-- it's not compatible with our newer version, though. But Collaborator said we could use zie's EA and Old FPE. So, I explained this to Advisor that, although I could use Collaborator's EA and Old FPE, I would prefer having my own so I don't have to deal with scheduling issues, etc. (plus, I knew that the grant should have enough money for EA). Advisor said yes. Later he told me that I need to be more assertive with asking for what I need. He doesn't know everything that I need (as he knows less about this particular technique than me) and that it's not being selfish, rude, or obnoxious to demand things that I need to be successful.
I'm doing several different experiments that include E. coli and yeast (S. cerevisiae if anyone is interested). I'm the first person in my lab to bridge the gap between the prokaryotic and eukaryotic versions of Our Favorite Protein. This required a separate incubator, which I lobbied for and eventually received. I, also, got a dedicated bench for my yeast stuff (this mostly had to do with undergrads using my YPD as LBG --yeast vs. E.coli media-- and causing other contamination issues). Labmate graduates soon and I'm claiming his desk. It's in a better location than mine and it's near my bench. So, I want.
I'm working on being less shy on asking for what I want and need. It's working to a certain extent, too (see above evidence). I'm losing my long taught shuffling-eyes-down-if-it's-not-too-much-trouble demeanor. In science, if I don't claim the space I need, then no one else will do it for me.
But I can still be polite about it.