Sunday, May 15, 2005

Baking Therapy

I was going to post the answer to my quiz question, but something bad happened to me today and I needed to bake. Since this blog is my way of creative expression in a way, I figured I'd deviate from my original plan and write about it.

I switched jobs last year and in the process incurred the wrath of my old boss. Many reasons contributed to my decision to leave, including uncertainty in funding and my general lack of interest in pursuing that avenue of scientific research. I also felt like I was not learning new techniques or being exposed to the new advancements in biological research, since I was doing very classical experiments with very little room to grow. I was doing essentially the same thing that I was doing in graduate school and I was burnt out. When I was offered a position in a different division, doing research that took full advantage of the human genome sequence and cutting edge technology with a vision that is fully integrated with the current structure of the organization as a whole, I took the job and moved labs. My old boss took my decision to leave his lab very personally and has been making his disappointment known in every possible instance.

Today, I received my performance appraisal from him for the three months I worked for him last year, and it was basically a two page list of how I failed him in every possible way. It made me sad that what he could remember of me were all negative and how his last impression of me was that I was an irresponsible person who let him down on every possible occasion. We had two good years together, and now, all that has faded in his memory.

So I baked him some pumpkin muffins. I could have written a response to his appraisal, pointing out the inaccuracies. I could have detailed all the problems and issues I had about him and his management style. But what would that have accomplished? In the name of 'standing up for myself', I would have made a sad situation worse.


I plan to bring him these muffins with a note thanking him for the time he took to write my appraisal and leave it at that. I have been doing very exciting work with my new boss, and she knows my value. And I know mine.

Yes, this means you all have another day to try at my Guessing Game!


Uchipu said...

The thing about that is that if you don't point out the inaccuracies and his incompetence of dividing personal feelings and actual work value, he will never learn.

What you should do is, write out what you think you have done that was great during the three months, point out the issues you've had with your old manager, and try to tie that into a clear honest reason why you changed labs.

Do take the criticism as well, as not to put yourself too much on a pedastool. Give an honest reason why (if any) you did somethings he did point out. However make sure you back if up with a good reason (ie, lack of funding, lack of proper equipment)

Then concluded with a full paragraph of how the past two years have effected positively, THEN thank him.

Read it over at least 4-5 times, making it sound as professional, yet also dramatic enough to evoke emotions.

When you're done, contemplate on sending it to him or not. Always carbon copy his superior as well - as things like this should stay on record.

Then throw the muffins at him.

andy said...

hi alice,
that looks delicious! can you share the recipe? yum yum! *pat belly*


Anonymous said...

good luck with your boss alice.
if food appeases gods i am sure it will bring peace to lesser beings.


Alice said...

Uchi pu,

Thanks for your input... Sigh...


The dry ingredients came from pumpkin bread mix from Trader Joe's. The wets were 1/2 cup of peanut oil, 1 cup of canned pumpkin, 1/3 cup of sake, and two super, super well beaten eggs. I beat the eggs first then added the other wet ingredients and folded the dries to make the batter. With the other 1 cup of canned pumpkin, I made the soft filling by adding 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese, pumpkin, ~1 tbp molasses, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and ~1/4 cup brown sugar. I poured some of the batter into the cup cake pan, put a tbp of the filling, and topped it with more batter. This was baked in the oven (~375F) for 25 min.

I also made pumpkin ricotta cheesecake for my friend's birthday with the same ingredients as the filling, except I added an egg and almond powder, and baked this in the oven too - just something else to try since 1 can of pumpking ends up being a lot of pumpkin!


Thanks! I need the luck!

The Papa Bear said...

It's a good thing that you don't work for that old vengeful, unappreciative boss anymore. And you have all the rights to use the chain of command to give him what he really deserves.

However, I applaud you for taking the "courageous" approach, in sending him a peace gesture. Sure, you and he had differences, but you sure did your work with flying colors. And he's probably sore from losing a star performer and wanted to get back at you for that. Peace for him means less of an annoyance for you, anyway.

And, if he doesn't want to accept the nice gesture, the chain of command is right there! I think he much prefers "honey" over "bitter melon" - for his own sake.

Good luck, Baby Bear.