One of the hardest things I find of becoming an office scientist (in contrast to a lab scientist) is that I have to give up the reins a little bit, take a step back, and let the young talent do the work. Which, at first, feels very weird, as one finds oneself frequently going to the lab to see what’s going on. Where before I had complete overview of each step of an experiment, I am now less directly involved and have also less insight into what’s cooking in each pot.
The positive effect, of course, is that things happen without my hands on the pipette, which (at least in theory) frees up my time to do other things (you guessed it: write yet another grant); in practice, I have to get used to working in the breaks between instructing my students, dealing with additional administrative work, and even more meetings, and I am beginning to adjust to this new rhythm of working. But it is immensely pleasing to watch students get data and slowly getting a handle on their project. It is even more satisfying to let go of the control over a project and then be surprised by what a fresh mind can come up with as they take over….