Kind mentors, and the other kind

This post is, I suppose, something of a bait-and-switch – because I don’t actually want you to read my post. Instead, I want you to head on over to Small Pond Science and read this one, in which Terry McGlynn argues that “a lot of scientists are kind, careful, and caring”.

I bet that post didn’t get a whole lot of eyeballs. Positive ones often don’t; what people really seem to gravitate toward is disaster stories about how horrible everything is. That’s normal human psychology and not confined to science; but it’s a shame. Yes, there are scientists out there who are terrible people and who treat their students and colleagues poorly; and we should call that behaviour out. But for every one of those scientists, there are four or five or ten who are kind, supportive, and caring. We should recognize the latter group, and praise them, so that we avoid (as Terry puts it) normalizing misery in grad school and in science. If you’re experiencing an advisor, or a committee member, or a colleague who behaves badly, by all means seek advice and help to change the situation.  But don’t assume it’s something that will, or should, typify your career in science.

Did you read Terry’s post? Recommending that you read Terry’s post was my whole point. Here it is again.

© Stephen Heard (sheard@unb.ca) December 3, 2015

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