Probably not.  But he's been acting awfully strange.  Strange as in being nice.  And supportive.  Being what he was like way back when I first joined his lab.  And he hasn't been like this a really long time.

First, there was evil committee member.  I was scared to tell him about how she had shot my project down because I thought that he would just yell at me and not get the point (which is how he has been reacting to things I tell him ever since I rejoined his lab).  And he kind of did at first with a snide "I told you so" type of comment.  But then he had a change of heart or something and instead came up with helpful ideas for how I could address my evil committee member's complaints.  Ideas that I could actually use.  Which hasn't happened for as long as I can remember.  And he was nice about it.  And willing to have a normal dialogue with me as I raised different questions and reasoned through what he was saying.  He would always just end up screaming at me before.  I was amazed.  Maybe he got some the night before.  Or his wife slipped some Prozac into his food.  I figured it was just a fluke though.

Until the other day, when I was having issues with the grad student who was making me feel like the village idiot.  I was particularly annoyed that day because we were having problems scheduling our patient studies and she was laying the blame square on me when it's not my fault if the clinic is booked and/or patients are busy.  And then she had the nerve to cc an email to my major professor thereby involving him when the whole issue wasn't even my fault to begin with.  So I told him about how she had been treating me, how she pushed the blame for everything that has gone wrong with the project onto me, expecting him to tell me to suck it up.  Instead, he tells me that that's the way some people are and that I have to stand up for myself or else they'll walk all over me.  He then gave me free rein to tell her whatever I thought was necessary with the assurance that he would back me up regardless of whether I was actually right or not.  My jaw practically dropped to the floor.  He had not been that supportive in so long that it was just a complete shock.  And he was good on his word too because he went over and talked to the other grad student's major professor about our issues.

So what could have caused this change?  It was almost as if he had read my blog and learned all of the things that he did that drove me nuts and then made a conscious effort to change.  I'm pretty sure that's not what happened since all he surfs is ESPN and other sports-related sites and he's not too internet-savvy, but I can't help but wonder what flipped the switch in him.  Sure, he's still not perfect, but what major professor is?  And I can't be sure that he'll stay this way.  My bet is that I just happened to catch him with these issues on his good days.  Just watch.  When I hit him with other things on his bad days, he'll be back to his old ways in no time.  I really hope that I'm wrong here.  Because it would be really nice to have a supportive major professor for a change.

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» The 10 dirtiest jobs in science.  Hey, they forgot to include being your major professor’s bitch.  Okay, I guess that isn’t quite as literally dirty as those on the list, but it sure feels like it is. # 0

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» There’s a great article today about how the MIT Dean of Admissions wants to reduce admissions anxiety in teenagers.  How about parents getting off of their kids’ backs?  That would help.  But I do admire her for trying to create a friendlier system that might just ease the pressure enough to not give parents such reason to push their kids so hard.  Too bad it probably won’t happen any time soon.  And go ahead and try to tell Asian parents to stop pushing their kids to the point of insanity.  I dare you. # 0

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