Every once in a while on New PI Slack we revisit the discussion about lab expectations and onboarding documents. Our lab has a private onboarding document (private because it contains a lot of specific information about our data servers/logistics etc), but I wanted a public expectations document so that current/future lab members could see what we value and see what we think is important for them to succeed. I’m posting it below but it will ultimately appear as a heading on the main menu of this site.

What you can expect from me:

  • You can expect me to do everything in my power to find and create opportunities for you that will help you achieve your career goals, whatever those goals may be.
  • You can expect me to push you out of your comfort zone towards greater independence.
  • You can expect me to meet with you regularly to discuss experiments and future plans.
  • You can expect me to help you interpret experimental results, help you decide on next steps and help you prioritize those next steps (but will strive to guide your thinking rather than do it for you).
  • You can expect me to help you prepare grants/papers and edit mature drafts of written work (with earliest drafts scanned by labmates).
  • You can expect me to go over your career development plan with you at least once per year to see if you are on track for your goals and help you overcome any challenges.
  • You can expect me to send you to one conference per year if possible (preferably more if we can afford it or if you get your own funding).

What I expect from you:

  • I expect you to conduct yourself with the utmost scientific integrity. Never manipulate data or plagiarize written work (even if it’s your own previous work).
  • I expect you to keep a written record of your experiments in the designated electronic laboratory notebook that is updated preferably as you work but no less frequently than once per week.
  • I expect you to attend all laboratory meetings. I expect you to tell me in advance if you cannot attend. Experiments should be planned around these events.
  • I expect students and postdocs to identify funding opportunities and apply for all relevant/eligible external funding (including travel grants). Let me know of all submissions you have planned for the next 12 months.
  • I expect you to be present in the lab for most of the hours between 10am-4pm as that is when most of the lab activities and collaborative discussions occur. The remainder of your work time can be whenever you wish and flexibility in schedule is a perk of the job. Please let me know of any full days missed in advance. Resist the urge to compare your work schedule to others in the lab as the expectations for each career stage and situation are different. Students and postdocs might choose to work more than the 40 hours expected for research assistants because of their additional responsibilities in writing/project design, formal requirements to move to the next career stage and the extra time needed for career development activities. Work hard but stay sane. There will be periods of very high intensity work to meet deadlines/goals and periods you just need to just rest, slow down and reflect (see my previous blog post).
  • I expect you to create/revise your career development plan once per year and tell me how I can help you in any ways I haven’t thought of.
  • I expect you to treat all of your lab mates with respect, regardless of their career stage. Each person is an important contributor to our team that we can learn from.
Categories: Pro-tips