It's Friday night. At 6 PM, I go to set up my chemical reaction, and I see my coworker about to set up a reaction he shouldn't be setting up. The reaction is not optimized yet, so he should not be running it on a large amount of material. Instead, he's supposed to be trying lots of reaction conditions to optimize this reaction. What was he doing? You guessed it... running it on a large amount of material. More bluntly, all of the material we have. Happily, I stop him in time.
Then I try to discuss with him how he should optimize this reaction. I try to prod and guide in as general terms as possible so that he can feel like he's coming up with the ideas, but that doesn't work. I lead him a bit more directly, which results in him coming up with even worse ideas. (!!!) I ask him to explain his reasoning (something we do in the project team on a very regular basis) and he tells me "I don't know. You do it." ("It" referring to the work he's been assigned.) As those of you who see my posts regularly know, my language is usually very clean, but...
What the [insert profanity of choice] is this [insert derogatory term of choice] [insert profanity of choice]ing thinking? (Now repeat, inserting different choices in brackets. And again. One more time. Okay... now moving on...)
To avert further aggrevation, I give up on coaxing him and simply explain to him to how to do things and explain the logic behind my choices. But now I've lost all my motivation. This guy has a PhD. He's completed three such projects before. I'm earning my PhD right now, and I've never completed such a project (namely a natural product total synthesis) before. Why is it the third time this week that I've had to babysit in order to avert disaster, and then hold his hand (figuratively) and walk him through the process of doing research in such detail that most undergrads would find it insulting if I did the same to them?
Okay, as unmotivated as I am, it's time to go get my work done for the day. Thanks for letting me rant. Just one last comment before going back to running my reaction...
Okay, I feel a bit calmer after letting that out.