Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cherry on Top

As if to make this week any worse, my doppleganger is potentially conducting research that I am also doing - so I've recently discovered. The similarities are too much. We are both working on this one very specific system, so it cannot be overlooked. Fortunately, only two people in the nation or world are experts on this system, and one of the experts is myself.

When I approached my doppleganger, I first tried to be friendly and extend advice. I wrote that we should meet as a group to discuss the system because his student was asking around my lab and needed advice. The response from the doppleganger was simply that he would instruct his students not to speak with mine. There is a longer email thread, but he essentially comes out looking like a jerk.

What to do? I approached my official mentor, and then my chair. The emails were forwarded. I noted that another faculty member from Other University had warned me about the doppleganger in 2008. I noted that the doppleganger was present at my closed-door research proposal session when I interviewed at Other University, so he had full access to my research plan. My chair and mentor are going to meet to talk about it, and we'll see about this outcome. Its just a cherry on top of an already frustrating workplace.


Anonymous said...

Yucky... When will researchers figure out they can get further working in collaboration than stubbornly going it alone? Sounds like your doppleganger's student is lost though, so maybe you're in good shape. Besides, the doppleganger hasn't seen any changes to your research plan in the past year or you might have a chance to show 'em up.

Still sucks though...

JaneB said...

Nasty mess, you have all my sympathy

Ms.PhD said...

I've had similar problems with people trying to steal my stuff once they realized I was onto something.

My advice is to ignore and avoid the doppleganger as much as you can, put your head down and work your ass off. With any luck (and by luck I mean the kind you can make yourself, in the lab), you will beat him to the punch.

Exclude him as a reviewer, I think that's all you can do.

He'll hate you forever, and his students will, too. All's fair so long as he doesn't manage to tank your grants and publications.