Musical Chairs | Blog #2

I realize that it’s been a bit since I last blogged but I had some allergies that were preventing me from going to work as often as I’d have liked. Some Sudafed has quickly restored me to working order.

During the last academic year, I managed to get my own desk and bench in the laboratory after our roster changed. It was nice to have my own work space rather than having to crowd Victor’s desk like I had for the past two years. Sometime during the winter semester a new post-doc joined our lab so I relocated to a desk and bench nearer to my mentor, Victor, and brought the O2 sensing electrode with me. While it was tedious to move all the equipment, I also lost use of a computer. The old desk had its own desktop PC. From this computer I could print all the figures for my lab notebook. This is more convenient than trying to use the common area computer which is often tied up. The new desk did not have its own computer. Additionally, my laptop does not have an Ethernet port due to its smaller form-factor. So I went and bought a cheap adapter on Amazon. Problem solved.

Now that the summer is in full swing, we have taken on another post-doc. As I am only full time during the summer I would have to give up my desk again. While this is very unfortunate for me, I am not at all upset with the decision because really there was no decision.

So now I have moved to the back of the lab to store all my stuff, and write up my reports. The desk I’d chosen didn’t have a nearby outlet so I managed to scavenge a surge protector, and stuff it into the headspace of the desk. The headspace is a cabinet the length of the desk which opens similar to a garage door. Originally, it was full of coffee and condiments from some long lost age. I’ve since moved those into the headspace of a neighboring desk who had no occupant. Now the headspace is my storage cubby. I actually find the small space pleasant to store my notebooks and tools.

There is still one problem with this desk I have yet to fix. The Ethernet wall port at this desk is offline. I will have to submit a ticket to IT for them to activate it. For now I have to borrow the port at my coworker’s desk to print. While this is not a great inconvenience, if I can fix it, I will.

I think that I would be justified in being upset about being moved about so often considering how long I’ve been in the lab. Yet, I feel that these things are impossible to avoid. The work ecosystem of the lab space changes constantly. People move in and out of the laboratory seasonally, with the only constant being the PI. That is why I am not upset. This is how things are. It would be foolish to assume otherwise. I know that I may end up moving from this new desk at the back sooner than I may expect. Or I may not move for the remainder of my work in this lab, after which I would be in a new lab for graduate school and have a new desk anyways. Besides, the influx of new researchers and students is critical to the success of the lab and the personnel.

The take away from this experience is that the lab space is always shifting and that’s okay.

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