Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life as a Lab Tech

0545 – Alarm goes off.  My hair’s a mess, but nobody really cares at the lab.  Brush teeth, make breakfast, turn on laptop, eat while watching 30 Rock (the episode where Jenna has a new catchphrase, “That’s a dealbreaker!”).

091220125730630 – Is that a spider crawling out of my pillow case?! Oh dear, take a picture of it, and send it out the door with a mile of paper towel.


0704 – Awesome, I’m on time, the bus is on time. Things can’t go wrong.

0715 – Starbucks for coffee.  The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back!  My order: tall nonfat, half sweet, pumpkin spice latte.  Usually I get no whip, but today the barrista was already heaping it on before I could stop her. 

0736 – It’s too early to start work (shift officially begins at 8AM), so I sit in the break room and read A Feast for Crows.

0745 – Head down to the lab.  Throw on my mud stained lab coat, slip on safety glasses, enter the lab.  Immediately get made fun of for “sleeping in”, since the other 2 guys (let’s call them JB and R) I work with start at 6AM.  It’s too early to be nice to people, but luckily I had that PSL so I just laugh. I’m told to help one dude with his tests, so I look at the summary of the work to check deadlines.  Nothing’s due today…  Guess I’ll take it easy for a bit and check my emails.Hopefully no samples come in.

0800 – Still checking emails.

0810 – Finished checking email, make my worksheet for a test for one sample that is due tomorrow, and slowly gather the supplies for it.  Oh, but the other team has to use the balance that I need to weigh out their samples first.  Guess I’ll have to save the work for after lunch when they’re usually done with the balance.  Stand around a bit and watch someone else work. She calls me creepy, so I walk off.  I walk around the room a few times, and finally end up back at the beginning… Staring at my summary of work.

0830 – Look for my other samples for another test due tomorrow… Try to waste time by typing slower, walking at a leisurely pace, and double checking every number and letter.  Give me something to do!

0900 – I know! I’ll go verify my pipettor! Off to the  balance in the other room.

0907 – Well, that was fun.

0930 – Take over weighing dirt and shit for R, so that he can mash up more dirt and shit for other tests.  Great, this will help pass the time.

1000 – Dispense water into samples, cap them, give them to R so that he can tumble them.  I don’t want to steal your entire test from you.  I check my email again, and watch JB work.

1015 – JB is calibrating the pH meter, but it looks like he’s having some trouble getting the correct reading for the standards…

1020 – JB recalibrated the meter, and now it seems to work.  He goes for lunch with R, and I am left behind to measure pH for the samples, and pick up the other samples for R after the tumbling.

1120 – Pick up samples from tumbler and bring them over to the centrifuge in the other room. 

1130 – NOOOOOooo the centrifuge can’t take all the samples! 2 left over! Guess I’ll have to use the one in the other other room with the creepy looking guy who thinks I’m his friend.

1133  - Calibrate my other pipettor. S comes to ask us to go eat with him, since he doesn’t like sitting in the break room without a friend. Fine, might as well, since I’m getting pretty hungry.

1150 – S leaves for his meeting. Gosh. Leaves me alone with my book.

1200 – E joins me at the table. 

1203 – Creepy guy joins us.  His food smells really bad. Get awaayyyyy from meeee.  Luckily, JJ joins us soon after, and I have a great time showing her my spider photo.  She flips out because she’s arachnophobic. I am highly amused. I text the photo to her, and she knows she shouldn’t open the message, but she can’t resist.  Once again, she freaks out.  At the same time, she’s laughing so hard that tears come out.

1230 – Back to work. 

1300-1600 – Work hard. Time flies by.

School starts tomorrow. I’m excited.


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