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That Chore You Hate? Chances are Your Labmates Feel the Same Way.

That Chore You Hate? Chances are Your Labmates Feel the Same Way.

Some research work isn't exciting. Racking pipette tips, autoclaving waste, making media, or washing dishes definitely fit in this category.

However, if you try to think of your research-related chores as "community service" that helps everyone in the lab, it might be its easier to find the motivation to get them done. Also, your willingness to help out and do a good job, even on the boring tasks, will be recognized as solid teamwork by your labmates. This matters to your success in the lab more than you can possibly imagine.

But no matter what chores you're responsible for doing, avoid complaining about how boring they are because no one wants to hear it. Every one of your labmates has a set of chores that make them wish they could do anything else. Sometimes, it's the prep work, the clean up, or even the actual experiment. Boring chores are simply part of a research experience--and the more hours you spend in the lab the more chores you have to get done.

True, some labmates bond by complaining about chores that need to be done, but be careful if you choose this path.* Commiserating with a labmate is different from outright complaining about chores that you have been assigned to do. The former is an exchange of woe is me and the latter can send the wrong message.

As a bonus, if you're new to the lab and haven't moved passed those initial awkward feelings that everyone has in the beginning, tasks like these can be a welcomed break to focus on something easy to do. Even if it's only for a few minutes.

*Note: We don't recommend choosing this path. It can easily be misinterpreted by your research supervisor or mentor if they overhear you complaining about the work you've been assigned to do, or the boring parts of your research project.