The 10 Unspoken Rules in the Lab

The 10 Unspoken Rules in the Lab

The 10 Unspoken Rules in the Lab

Posted on the 18th of Jul 2019 by Westlab

1. Don’t touch

Never, ever use someone else’s equipment, samples, liquid media, or particularly anything subject to contamination, without clear permission.

Overlook this unspoken rule and you risk:

  • the venting of anger from the lender,
  • the failure of their experiment, and
  • the subsequent blame for that failure!

2. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Be thoughtful; involve others in your activities unselfishly. Ordering new equipment for yourself on behalf of the lab? Ask others if they would like anything added to the list. If you act this way, you build trust and collaborative quality with the rest of your team. You will be most likely return the favour.

3. Admit your mistakes

If you have made a mistake that has affected others, admit it. It builds trust and lets you learn and helps your colleagues understand you better. If you don’t, and your colleagues’ work is ruined, you will further suffer the consequences. Colleagues appreciate your honesty, and you will likely suffer no repercussions if you simply own up. As they say, we all make mistakes.

4. Help other colleagues, especially when they are sick

When your colleague can’t make it to work, it is always expected that you make their day better by helping them in a small way. Not to say that you go do the rest of their project for them but ask them if you need to do anything for them—a ‘small favour’—it is really appreciated.

5. Cleanliness

Keep your lab clean and you are the joy of the lab! Leave a mess behind you – fridges, cupboards, benches – is the niggle of everyone. And keep rubbish properly disposed of at all times.

6. Be respectful and decent

The lab is one place that respectful behaviour is really important. This is because it is more often than not a little more than a 9-5 job. A bad attitude, bad morals and bad scruples are derogatory to the culture of the lab and you will soon be labelled the ‘don’t-trust’ worker.

7. Take pride in your work

Keeping the lab organised is crucial to success, and it starts with you. Keeping a folder for materials and methods and one for protocols will make sure that your work is absolutely foolproof. Your work is your legacy, so stay organised.

8. Be friendly

Make a positive environment and a collaborative situation by genuinely being friendly. If it is not you, then at least show a little interest in your colleagues: it puts you all at the same level. It also helps you understand the people in the workplace: it is always better to work with friends.

9. Know the hierarchy

At first, you will be annoying, asking questions to your supervisor and getting to know the workplace, as we all have been at one point. Starting out is not easy. The importance is to know who to ask, especially in a big lab. It helps you to work in conformity to your supervisor’s style and tasks, and to get to know what you are doing through your assigned supervisor. And if you have any concerns, it is wise to run it through with your supervisor so they can help you, rather than boldly going to whoever, you think appropriate. It may just come back and bite you. In this regard, make your supervisor proud so you both benefit.

10. Know the peeves

You will learn what bugs people during your initial days in the lab, but while learning be observant. Be clean and tidy, not wasteful, eager to help (carefully), and remember to ask before doing something you are not 100% sure about. You are sure to ruffle some feathers but be quick to apologise and eager to learn.

2019-07-18 02:15:00
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