// November 14th, 2008 // 8 Comments » // Blog
I assigned myself the somewhat derogatory title of “The Leech” during my PhD years, when I noticed a potentially annoying personal behaviour.
When faced with a problem, I used one of two 'extreme' paths in my search for a solution.
Where I suspected that I knew enough to fix the problem myself, I was very secretive, independent, and head strong. Even if someone offered me advice (though it would not have been requested), I'd politely listen to them, but in my head I was thinking:
“Yeah, yeah, I already knew that.
“No, that won't work.
“Please, just let me get on with it!”.
I think it had something to do with trying to 'prove' myself; either to my supervisors, or just as an ego rush. This behaviour lead to me wasting six months on an experiment, that never yielded any results. I kept repeating and repeating the assay, and I would report my work regularly, but I never actually thought to sit down and talk to someone about why I was failing so consistently; I was that determined to solve the problem myself.
One supervisor openly chastised me for this, and I think the embarrassment from that experience, combined with the frustration of having clearly wasted so much time, caused me to swing the other way completely. Thus, 'the Leech' was born.
Now, every time I had a problem, even a tiny one, I would seek human intervention. It didn't matter whether there were manuals written on the subject, or in-depth how-tos posted online; I still needed reassurance from someone more experienced in that field, to make sure that I didn't mess up to that extent again. I am surprised no-one ran away from me in the hall ways, screaming:
“Noooo… I have given all I have to give! You have sucked my brain dryyyy!”.