Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Five Phrases That Make Graduate Students Cringe

"Let's set up a meeting"
Translation: I'm either bored, trying to justify my salary, or going to deliver some really bad news. In any case I'm going to waste your time and accomplish nothing.

"This is an opportunity for you."
Translation: I don't want to do this scut work.

"You should know this."
Translation: You are an undereducated fool. Being highly insecure and worried that you are smarter than me I chose to be flippant rather than helpful. To me mentoring means use a mistake to belittle you rather than teach you.

"This is an easy experiment."
Translation: I was sitting in my office and had a spontaneous delivery of oxygen and caffeine to my brain which then mated with some inherent lunacy producing this "hypothesis". Unfortunately, I spent less than five minutes thinking this out, have not actually physically performed a successful bench work experiment in over a decade, and will promptly forget about this idea after my next meal. In the meantime work yourself to the bone as I complain about how long it takes you to finish this "simple" project and present me with the results of an experiment whose hypothesis I will then disregard as utter madness.

"This is a quick paper."
Translation: My tenure is in jeopardy, I need publications now despite the lack of funding, data, laboratory manpower, or a literate grasp of the English language. That and the fact that my turn around time for editing your manuscripts is 6 to 12 months.

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