Thursday, February 09, 2006

Defining Frustration

This has been on my brain the past few days, so bear with me. We have a new Admin Asst here at the office, very nice woman. I knit during lunch. My co-worker(Frenchie) likes to "pet" my yarn while I knit... I don't mind--- everyone is very much used to this arrangement.

So, the other day, I was knitting on my Bloomin' Feet socks (yes, they are so boring- they don't warrant a photo) at lunch. Our new office addition(the admin), starts to comment that she is surprised I knit. As I am only 28, I hear this alot. BUT, this began a conversation about that I SHOULD NOT knit.

Ummm.. WHY?

Well, she theorized (oh, by the way- she's never wrong, she told me today) that I am a scientist, therefore the following is true:
1. I am not creative
2. I am unable to think "outside the box"
3. and that i would only be able to knit from patterns b/c I am protocol-oriented.
4. as a scientista (PC's word), I am unable to handle any sort of failure/problem/frustration.

I spent 4 hours this morning asking an inanimate object (FPLC) to "behave" and praying for droplets to emerge from it. This was my 11th time doing this ritutal EXACTLY.

FRUSTRATION is why I get paid so well.

I have adapted the protocol for the 11th time and have practically fallen on my head thinking outside the box on this one--- I MAKE protocols for a living--- I work in the customization aspect of science... most of this has never been done before!

Not creative...well, I was creative enough to think of better ways to spend 8 years instead of Assault and Battery for smacking her. :)

Today, she brought me a mini-cross stitch pattern (with YARN instead of thread... it's for children!) with a daisy on it. She said it was "more my speed". My coworker backed away and said "if only you could see her blog!"

I have to understand that this woman is:
  1. a different generation
  2. new to the job-- she doesn't know what we do around here
  3. a different culture (shocked that PC and I aren't married)
  4. probably more of a problem than a solution for the next few months.

Thanks for the vent!

:) MINi

PS_ look for Olympic updates over the weekend! See all you Team Boston-ians at Doyles!


  1. I'm amazed at your self control! One of my needles would've definitely managed to give her a sharp poke :O)

  2. "More your speed?" Oh my! That really is insulting. I mean, it's not like you were sitting there with needles and yarn, unsure what to do. You were competently (well, I wasn't there, I'm guessing) knitting your socks . . . what on earth would posess her to assume that you couldn't handle knitting? Sheesh!

    And, really, it's bringing in the baby cross stitch today that's the kicker. As in, could kick HER!

  3. I had to meet with my grad advisor the other day, and he made a similar "engineers are so anal, they always think inside the box." I told him yes, unless we were designing a new box.

    People have a hard time understanding not everyone is totally right or left-brained. Some of us can be crafty and scientific at the same time. I admire your self restraint :) "More your speed" Please.

  4. How insulting! I have to admit however, that I read the logical arguments why a scientist 'should not knit' with a certain fascination. ;-) Well, would be too stupid to advise you to stop knitting only to avoid unanticipated behaviour for your co-worker. I guess she will have to learn that strange things happen outside her box.
    Thanks for the tip on the revised pattern. I had already seen it over at Alison's page and thus was spared the trouble. But it was very thoughtful to inform me.

  5. "4. as a scientista (PC's word), I am unable to handle any sort of failure/problem/frustration."

    *falls down on floor laughing*

    When I have students come to me and ask me if I think they're "smart enough" to go on to graduate school, I tell them that "smart" has less to do with it than "not being able to accept that you are 'beaten'"

    And "more your speed"? Man, I can think of about fifteen things I would have said or done in your place - ranging from saying "Honey, you haven't SEEN my speed" to throwing the kit in her face.

    Gah. I'm glad I don't have to work with people like that. Most of my colleagues are like "You knit? That's really cool" and even if they're puzzled as to the why, they don't make snide comments about it.

    and dealing with the frustration of "cranky" equipment, computers, data sets - that's where a lot of "thinking outside the box" (a phrase that I think should be banned, BTW) comes in to play.

    I've actually said that scientists - and particularly academic scientists - SHOULD have some kind of creative hobby like knitting, because it helps us hone skills - like knowing when to fix a mistake and when we can let it ride - that we use at work.

    anyone who says scientists aren't creative hasn't spent much time in a research lab, especially one with poor funding. (The people who developed penicillin? One of the guys - Heatley - made a piece of lab equipment out of a bookcase discarded by the Bodlein Libary and other assorted "junk")