"Motivation" & Attitude

brett brett at BORCIM.WUSTL.EDU
Tue Apr 30 13:18:49 EST 1996


Matt wrote to me...
>Brett-
>I seriously think you should read the note a little more carefully prior to 
>sending someone you don't know a scathing note implying that I lack certain 
>attributes such as "respect" and "decency". If you were to actually read what I
>wrote prior to flying off the handle about something you obiously know nothing 
>about, why don't you take some time yourself to understand what respect and 
>decency mean?  I was merely putting in a request for someone who wanted this 
>piece of information for his grad students (read the note) and not myself. I 
>don't know what sort of childhood (or grad school) trauma you were subjected
>to,
>but I assure you that it is something that you might be able to overcome with 
>some restraint.              -Matt
>
>
>>A colleague of mine is looking for a way of getting "more out of his grad 
>>students".  He has heard of a letter that was passed around quite a bit a 
>>while back purported to be from the Tjian lab that he thinks would do 
>>the trick.  Does anyone have a copy of this letter lying around?  Or how 
>>about some amusing personal experiences???  -Matt
>>


Matt. I can see that this conversation has already been shot. I did not "fly
off the handle" as you state. Perhaps *you* should re-read my post. I state:

>How would you prefer someone to "motivate" you Matt?

This is also known as the golden rule. In other words, Matt, try treating
people as you wish to be treated.

>Why not try demonstrating a determination and drive for the science coupled 
>with an attitude of decency and respect for the student?

Here, I am stating how I wish to be treated and hope I treat others. I do not
say that you lack any of these qualities. I beleive true motivation comes from
within and that to effectively "motivate" someone is to facilitate this process.
I was trying to be helpful. However, since you insist on confrontation, I
will clarify my position as follows. You wrote:

>>A colleague of mine is looking for a way of getting "more out of his grad 
>>students".

This sounds like the attitude of a slave owner of the 1800's. Apparently I was
not the only one to pick on this, judging by the replies to methods-and-reagents
(BTW, perhaps not the correct forum since this space is frequented by grad
students and others who actually *do* the work that PI's sign their names to.
This is not a comment on my situation, but an observation of this group.)
Anyways, whether this "letter" is for you or a colleague is beside the point.
You have expressed your attitude and it resembles one devoid of respect for
graduate students. You are getting a lot of shit for this and in my opinion,
you deserve it.

And then to me personally, you wrote
>flying off the handle about something you obiously know nothing about...

and in the same paragraph (!)...
>I don't know what sort of childhood (or grad school) trauma you were subjected 
>to....

Pardon? You are right Matt, you do not know me. Darn!


Brett Lindenbach
    
Program in Immunology                              
Washington University - St Louis                  
brett at borcim.wustl.edu                             

"I own my own pet virus. I get to pet and name her." - Cobain




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