These past couple weeks have been filled with a whirlwind of emotions. My leadership experience has been a large part of this. Since the participant recruitment has ended, I have been spending more time with the Research Assistants. During this time I have tried to learn the balance of friendliness and strictness that runs the lab most efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, one of the Research Assistants has been particularly difficult and has made it impossible to keep a friendly environment in the lab. I find this extremely frustrating because I simply want us to all get the work done and meet our deadlines, I don’t mind if someone is more quiet or more social as long as they complete their assignments on time. However, this individual refuses to do their work and is rude and disrespectful to both me and the graduate student who is in charge of the project.
Although this is frustrating for me, it is even more infuriating to the graduate student because we are not allowed to fire him but he also is no longer doing any work toward the project. He is impossible to manage because he has a lack of interest but again we cannot fire him due to his program. At this point I thought I had two choices: get angry or let it go. If I got angry and told him how I felt about his actions, he would not work any harder and might mess up on purpose even which means I would have to redo his work anyway. If I let it go, I would have to watch as he goofed off and slept at work while all of his peers complained to me of how unfair it was. Fortunately, the graduate student handled this problem and chose to just let him do whatever he wanted but never write a good recommendation for him.
The graduate student has become my wonderful mentor. She is always organized, kind and passionate about her work. I love our weekly talks about the Interaction Study and possible future projects. We exchange and refine our ideas which has helped me come closer to a specific research question for my paper. This relationship seems promising for the future and has been the most exciting part of the past couple weeks.