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Life in the Drug Labs

Now, Let’s See. . .

As you can tell, it’s been quiet around here! I’m living up to the recipes I’ve published on the blog this time of year, though – I made the chicken pot pie last night, and it was a good night to stay indoors and eat it, since it got down to -4F around here.

Soon enough, though, I will have to face the prospect of actually going back to work and earning a living, instead of sitting around eating chocolate and homemade gingersnaps. I made a set of detailed notes my last day of work, as I usually do, to remind myself of just what the heck was going on, so I’ll have that to lean on. I learned back in my New Jersey pharma days that if I didn’t do that I tended to sort of blank out come January, and only remember some key item around, say, Valentine’s Day. Which brings up the question of just how key it must have been, admittedly.

But that’s the question I want to ask people, because I’ve also known people who deliberately have tried *not* to write down all the things that they were doing in December. Their take was that the really important stuff would make itself known, one way or another, and that some of what seemed to be a priority before the break was actually not such a big deal.

I can’t quite bring myself to do that. My December note-taking is partly a list of priorities, and partly just a reminder of what I was thinking about and how I was thinking about it. All that is subject to revision after the break, naturally, and sometimes I have indeed looked over the items and thought “Nah, that can wait” (or even “Who cares?”) But I do feel that I want access to my fully informed previous thoughts, and I can’t always be sure that I’ll arrive in January with all of them still attached, what with all the pie-making, bread-baking, sleeping until noon and whatnot. So which way do you lean?

14 comments on “Now, Let’s See. . .”

  1. MOBIO says:

    As I don’t celebrate the various festivities in December, this month is pretty much like any other month. The big difference is that my office is quieter during the holidays and I’m able to get quite a bit of stuff done that I’ve been putting off.

  2. tlp says:

    I’m keeping and revising such notes every week or so, using evernote. So going for a holidays break is nothing special.

  3. Karl says:

    I’ve generally leaned towards taking a few days before Christmas, and a few days after New Years, so for me the problem tends to not arise as much.

    But, if one must choose, I’m on the side of taking notes. I think that’s mostly because the “things I care about” domain seems to be MUCH larger than the “things other people care about” domain, and if I don’t take some notes, I’ll be reduced to firefighting instead of solving more basic product issues.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am a note taker / note maker. I make (short) to-do lists. … One problem: where did I put that list?

  5. CR says:

    I used to be a post-it note person and would leave many of those all over the office/lab; now everything is on the computer as a calendar notice for the first day back at 8 am. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to hit dismiss and then forget what I need.

  6. Anon says:

    I just go back and check my inbox from before Christmas to remind me what I was doing back then, and continue from there. No other notes or reminders necessary.

  7. DisgruntledMedChemist says:

    For first time in 12 years no list for new year. Few notes scribbled on sash-hood and some outlook reminders. Main task for Jan is find a new job.

  8. Chrispy says:

    I have a continuous list, not just in December.

    It helps me to remember the things that are important but not urgent.

  9. jbosch says:

    I had no idea the hamster wheel would stop at any given month.
    Happy New Year

  10. Old Pump kicker says:

    When I was on the Goverment side of the business, it seemed like the contractors cleared their desks before going on holiday. So I always had a full in box between the holidays. However, the quiet telephone was a help to the response drafting process.

  11. HammerofGod says:

    Every year for the past 17 years (except one year when I had just changed jobs and was forced to work), I have been out on vacation from before Christmas Eve until January 2nd, at the earliest. And every year is the same routine: work diligently that last few days before leaving on vacation (i.e. don’t “coast” into vacation), spend the last half day cleaning up, and prepare a detailed to-do list which sits on my desk, awaiting my return. I’ve found lots of (most?) folks return in January in some sort of haze and take days to get back up and running, whereas I like to jump back in full speed by 7 am the first day back. Because let’s face it – there are only going to be more and more things added to the list before the first week back is over! Better to tackle what you can ASAP before you get buried.

  12. David Edwards says:

    In the meantime, a tangential diversion to entertain Derek … apparently, someone thought it would be a good idea to react caesium with fluorine. You can watch the video here:

  13. Ida Left says:

    Pfizer is certainly off to their typical start of the new year with a fresh set of lay-offs and departmental shut downs. Now it’s the Andover Massachusetts site on the chopping block with all of Drug Safety and Metabolism (Toxicology) and Comparative Medicine being told their jobs are gone. Of course the pink slips are going to be rationed out over the next 3-4 months or so to avoid any sort of media attention that might perturbation stock prices. Everyone has to mind their bottom line but this company has no soul! Just my opinion which matters to them about as much as their employees do.

  14. By the time I get to the pre-vacation period, I’m usually automatically focusing on the most important things. I leave notes to myself for when I get back, but I find that absence allows the less important things to drift away and for a renewed focus on the important things.

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