Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Temper Tantrum Over Group Meeting

I threw a temper tantrum over group meeting, embarrassing myself in front of my students. I went to our group meeting location at the scheduled time, only to find the lights off, no computer set up, and not a single group member present. I called up to the student office saying, "Does anyone remember that we have group meeting today?" They all collectively scurried down to the room, but once they were there, I was so steaming mad that words started uncontrollably pouring out of my mouth.

"I'm really really sick today, and I dragged my ass in to come to this group meeting. None of you could bother to even show up on time. This is a waste of my time. If this were industry, you'd all be fired. No get out - I don't want to see any of you."

I was really really pissed because I was having horrible side effects from the methotrexate that day, and the last thing I wanted to deal with was a bunch of students being disrespectful. Two of the six sent me apologies. But I haven't spoken to any group members since. Oh sigh.


BLG said...

You know, this sounds like an awful experience for you, and a rough one for your grad students. However, if you don not usually get visibly mad at them, this may be a very effective learning moment for them. I certainly remember the one time that my adviser was angry at me because I was skipping seminars, and I learned from it. It's a matter of professional courtesy.

Pharm Sci Grad said...

I don't think you embarrassed yourself... I think you taught your students a lessons they best learn sooner rather than later, because you are right - there is no job in which that would be acceptable. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

It is not at all abnormal behavior on your behalf. I as a professor, have gone through similar experiences. From student perspective, it is better to get scolded by a professor and learn the lesson than get fired from industry job later.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you embarrassed yourself. Yelling at your group is perfectly normal thing to do if done once in a while. I yelled and stormed out of a meeting once because the talk given by a postdoc was absolutely unbearable - the data was bad, interpretation bad and that garbage was presented horribly. Since then no one in my group has ever made that mistake again of giving a bad group meeting talk.
I think as a PI it is okay to show your group that some things are just not acceptable.