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Old 23.09.2012, 13:09
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Advice Needed

Hi,

Just started work a few weeks ago and I'm experiencing a little problem...

In the same way that I would never try to teach a mathematician how to solve problems or tell a medical doctor how to diagnose me, I find that to the contrary, some of my colleagues who are just have bachelors or masters degrees are trying to teach me, an experienced doctorate, how to do my work (which is very specialized). While I would appreciate this if told by a professor or a fellow scientist, I do not appreciate being told this by people who don't know what they are doing and are self proclaimed experts. Its not that I'm arrogant. Its just that I have already worked with and proved myself to *real* scientists and I don't see any reason non-scientists should tell a scientist how to do something which he has been doing for some time.

I have a doctorate in a field which will be considered to be in the same ranks as rocket science obtained at a reputable university but my modesty keeps me from telling my colleagues not to tell me how to do my job. But at times, I feel like I should. I just wanted to know whether this is the culture here, that being the democracy this is, everyone wants to have a say in everything.

What do you think? And yes, you can safely eliminate *all* possibilities of them being better than I am . My boss knows this but I feel its his fault for not introducing me well to others. I am younger than most of my colleagues but I happen to be their project manager.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 23.09.2012, 13:30
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Re: Advice Needed

hi.
regretfully, I have no experience with local culture in this regard. But here's my advice: when dealing such a behaviour in my past in other countries, I usually replied politely: "thank you, I'd rather prefer doing it my way". Usually it was enough to stop such comments. If not, I repeated the same, adding "after all, it's me, who is responsible for the final result".

ans this was always enough unless the person had serious problems...and if so - then you always need some patient understanding to people who can't control themselves due to serious deviations: )

good luck.

N.
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Old 23.09.2012, 23:08
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Re: Advice Needed

What do you mean by "here" - your profile says you're in the US?

No matter in which country, I'd ignore that ("as an experienced doctorate")...or ask myself if there could be indeed another approach.

In any case, theese young ba - students talk with you as if you were a (kind of) fellow student and that's positive IMO.
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Old 23.09.2012, 23:19
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Re: Advice Needed

Just because you have your Doctorate and they have their Masters doesn't automatically mean that you will know how to do your job better than your co-workers (who have been working there longer than you).

Maybe they're just trying to help?

My advice...

Keep your ego in check before you ruin your relationships with your new co-workers.
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Old 23.09.2012, 23:33
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Re: Advice Needed

Well Sir I don't know if you would take advice from a low meagre degree of arts holder... but truly, the workplace is a lot more than who's got the bigger...eh.. Education

If they are telling you how to do your job and your are doing it adequately then tell them lay off, but review yourself first and ensure that their ideas/advice/comments are not useful first. If you are project manager I believe you will need to break out your leadership skills.. Forget how much education you have, Well done and pat on the back but you are in the workplace now so let your education reflect in your pay packet and not in your attitude towards your co-worker... Just sayin....

What would I know, I am a stay-at-home mom.. No scientist need apply...



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Just because you have your Doctorate and they have their Masters doesn't automatically mean that you will know how to do your job better than your co-workers (who have been working there longer than you).

Maybe they're just trying to help?

My advice...

Keep your ego in check before you ruin your relationships with your new co-workers.
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Old 24.09.2012, 00:10
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Re: Advice Needed

Dear Sumerkirima, thanks for your advise.

FMX, apologies I did not update my location. I'm here..meaning in CH.

Carrie F, Thanks for your constructive criticism but I beg to differ. If I had an ego problem, I wouldn't have been asking for advise here. And maybe I wrote my email in a rush because when I say "do my job", it means highly specialized R&D. You obviously do not understand the job of a scientist and the years of effort and higher education it takes to become one or you either have an inferiority complex/bias against them to state that their doctorate does not matter. In any case, I do not wish to start a debate and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.
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Old 24.09.2012, 00:11
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Re: Advice Needed

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Hi,

Just started work a few weeks ago and I'm experiencing a little problem...

In the same way that I would never try to teach a mathematician how to solve problems or tell a medical doctor how to diagnose me, I find that to the contrary, some of my colleagues who are just have bachelors or masters degrees are trying to teach me, an experienced doctorate, how to do my work (which is very specialized). While I would appreciate this if told by a professor or a fellow scientist, I do not appreciate being told this by people who don't know what they are doing and are self proclaimed experts. Its not that I'm arrogant. Its just that I have already worked with and proved myself to *real* scientists and I don't see any reason non-scientists should tell a scientist how to do something which he has been doing for some time.

I have a doctorate in a field which will be considered to be in the same ranks as rocket science obtained at a reputable university but my modesty keeps me from telling my colleagues not to tell me how to do my job. But at times, I feel like I should. I just wanted to know whether this is the culture here, that being the democracy this is, everyone wants to have a say in everything.

What do you think? And yes, you can safely eliminate *all* possibilities of them being better than I am . My boss knows this but I feel its his fault for not introducing me well to others. I am younger than most of my colleagues but I happen to be their project manager.

Thanks in advance.
A former employer of mine (one of the best I had) said to me once, never reject the advice of anyone. You can discard whatever you don't need later but there might be some nugget in there that you've never considered.

A true professional never stops learning and is humble enough to accept a lesson from someone less qualified or less experienced than themselves.

In addition, if your (lesser experienced) colleagues are aware that you listen and take them seriously, you will shore up their loyalty and will be more likely to be able to count on them in tough situations.
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Old 24.09.2012, 00:22
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Re: Advice Needed

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Carrie F, Thanks for your constructive criticism but I beg to differ. If I had an ego problem, I wouldn't have been asking for advise here. And maybe I wrote my email in a rush because when I say "do my job", it means highly specialized R&D. You obviously do not understand the job of a scientist and the years of effort and higher education it takes to become one or you either have an inferiority complex/bias against them to state that their doctorate does not matter. In any case, I do not wish to start a debate and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.
Again, you might want to keep that ego in check...

I'm sorry if my advice didn't stroke your ego, since apparently that's what you were hoping for.

By the way -- I work with scientists and for a Mathematics Professor from the University of Zurich. Very nice, down-to-earth people, and they treat me no differently simply because I don't have my PhD.
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Old 24.09.2012, 00:31
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Re: Advice Needed

Sorry Carrie F, you are still misunderstanding me. Will you "teach" the professor you are working for how to solve a mathematical problem?
That's what my original post was about.

It's not that I treat people differently if they do not have a PhD, which is what some people may have thought.
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Old 24.09.2012, 00:34
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Re: Advice Needed

My advice. If you don't like your colleagues's remarks state it clearly with them! Things could become unbearable as time passes.
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Old 24.09.2012, 01:08
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Re: Advice Needed

In Switzerland there is a greater sense of shared responsibility. Generally people like to share and discussion everything in the way of work and decisions and what to do. This maybe the cultural difference that you are experiencing in that they are volunteering their opinions and advice even without your solicitation.

In how to deal with it I like Sandgrounder's answer.
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Old 24.09.2012, 01:11
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Re: Advice Needed

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In Switzerland there is a greater sense of shared responsibility. Generally people like to share and discussion everything in the way of work and decisions and what to do. This maybe the cultural difference that you are experiencing in that they are volunteering their opinions and advice even without your solicitation.

In how to deal with it I like Sandgrounder's answer.
Many thanks. This is one of the things I asked and what I wanted to verify
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Old 24.09.2012, 01:11
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Re: Advice Needed

You ARE Sheldon from the big bang theory

edited post since your responses clarified a bit more . But you are still Sheldon
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Old 24.09.2012, 01:32
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Re: Advice Needed

Ok Anthony1406, I accept defeat. Next time I make an incision to access someone's heart, I'll do it not where best practices demand but where-ever someone suggests
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Old 24.09.2012, 01:35
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Re: Advice Needed

Now I hope people won't twist my previous post out of proportion...I was kidding

Thanks everyone for your responses. We can treat this matter as resolved.
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Old 24.09.2012, 02:00
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Re: Advice Needed

My dad, he of no qualifications what so ever, often helps his mate out with complex electrical engineering problems. He's been doing this since he was a lowly lab technician at the university where his mate is the Professor running the department. Even though my dad moved on from the university years ago the professor still consults him and my dad still has no qualifications. Don't dismiss people just because they are not as qualified as you or will will come across as arrogant just like you are to some people here.

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Sorry Carrie F, you are still misunderstanding me. Will you "teach" the professor you are working for how to solve a mathematical problem?
That's what my original post was about.

It's not that I treat people differently if they do not have a PhD, which is what some people may have thought.

Last edited by Lou; 24.09.2012 at 02:40.
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Old 24.09.2012, 05:47
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Re: Advice Needed

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My dad, he of no qualifications what so ever, often helps his mate out with complex electrical engineering problems. He's been doing this since he was a lowly lab technician at the university where his mate is the Professor running the department. Even though my dad moved on from the university years ago the professor still consults him and my dad still has no qualifications. Don't dismiss people just because they are not as qualified as you or will will come across as arrogant just like you are to some people here.
Excellent point, well made. I'm new today to this Forum and would like to thank you for that post, but have no idea how to do that in the way other folks have done to previous posts. Be grateful for someone's advice, please. Thank you.
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Old 24.09.2012, 08:25
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Re: Advice Needed

I'm highly experienced in my job. When new folk come on the team, they often have "helpful" suggestions. I listen politely, then gently point out why their suggestion might not be optimal - perhaps some aspects they haven't considered, or they're not up to date on the latest techniques. Soon they learn that I generally know what I'm talking about.

If someone really is a cocky little git, then a put down might be in order. E.g. "I've been working on this since before you discovered what girls were for", or "I did write the book on this".

I tend not to though. If you're secure in your own abilities, why get upset by what anyone else says.

If your boss didn't introduce yourself properly, why didn't you organise a meeting and do the job yourself? Or take the time to have a one-on-one lunch with your staff members? Maybe you could ask your boss to send you on some management courses to help you on that side of your job - having a PhD is no guarantee that you've any ability to handle a team. I've met many over-promoted highly educated idiots in my time. They're generally the ones who insist on being called "Doctor".
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Old 24.09.2012, 08:30
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Re: Advice Needed

To follow on from what others have said...

If you do ever take the advice, please also give credit where it's due. I know from experience that having your boss present your work as their own is not a very good feeling.
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Old 24.09.2012, 08:34
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Re: Advice Needed

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Carrie F, Thanks for your constructive criticism but I beg to differ. If I had an ego problem, I wouldn't have been asking for advise here. And maybe I wrote my email in a rush because when I say "do my job", it means highly specialized R&D. You obviously do not understand the job of a scientist and the years of effort and higher education it takes to become one or you either have an inferiority complex/bias against them to state that their doctorate does not matter. In any case, I do not wish to start a debate and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.
I have a doctorate and my job title is that of a scientist. Vast majority of my friends and work colleagues are also scientists with doctorate degrees. None of us would ever judge or categorize others in terms of the degrees they hold like you did in your original post. You most certainly have an inflated sense of the worth of a doctorate degree.

But, you know what, good for you. Most of the scientists I know feel like they are not smart enough or even stupid (probably because they consistently deal with a lot of other smart people in their respective fields). So, it is refreshing to see a scientist with a slightly inflated self-worth. Good luck with your issues.
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