Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Butt Pat.

My advisor made a triumphant return to lab. The big news -- our group was renewed for a monster grant. The funding will ensure that our research will remain vibrant for years to come. Of course, with this good news comes the bad news that the boss is back in town. Everyone came to work bright and early, something that hadn't happened in a long, long time.

Strangely enough, Professor Superstar already knew my exact progress on my project. It was all rather spooky. "You found a way to do X, Y and Z! You've done an amazing job, Vavoom. I guess what they say about you is true." Suddenly, a warm glow emanated from my body. I was overjoyed. It was such a strong butt pat, I think I still have my advisor's handprint on my ass.

Now's the time in this entry where you could interject the sound of a record screeching.

Wait a minute. I thought I wasn't going to let my advisor affect my opinion of myself or my work. I couldn't help it. It was like a knee jerk reaction. Why do I need Professor Superstar to validate me or my progress?

Are you folks affected by praise or criticism from your supervisor? Why are some of us so heavily invested in receiving validation from others?

15 Comments:

Blogger mindful said...

Congratulations Vavoom!

Just because you feel good when Prof. Superstar (whom you admire and respect) praises you doesn't mean you need that praise, or that you aren't evaluating your own work. Honestly, would you feel as good if you had been doing really shitty work and you had been commended on it?

12:52 PM  
Blogger FantasticAlice said...

Cause no likes to hear... you suck.

Oh, and Good Job as usual!

Yeah, I like hearing good job Alice... go forth and conquer Alice... good work with trying not to kill the pcas Alice... I think as humans we are just wired to "need" approval, by peers and elders... and occasionally some people (not I) need approval from kids but I think those people have issues anyways.

So, is it top secret or can you tell us what exactly the grant is funding for you to work on?

1:20 PM  
Blogger jkhkhjkh said...

Why is it, that almost 90% of the comments in blogs are really nothing but validations, and invitations to visit "my" blog? Its the human mind, Voom, taht's what it is. A way to build self-esteem. Now, I have yet to see a blog with comments diabled. Maybe, one day I may do it. Just givin off the scent like a rose, without worrying about who is smelling it. Plants do that. they done need self-esteem. they just give.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or stench like a fart and not worrying about who's smelling.

now, i will seriously want to kick some ass if someone tells me that my fart smells good.

I like getting honest compliments on jobs well done, but I have a tendency to second guess praises.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

All I need is an honest assessment. If it sucks, tell me, so I can figure out how to do my job. If it's good, don't heap praise on me, but a "good job, you're on track" is all I need.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

I think you're still alright. You aren't letting his comments affect you, you are accepting his affirmation of your stellar job. As for myself, it used to mean something, but my current boss tosses stuff out all the time. It doesn't seem to mean as much since I hear it on a daily basis.

6:38 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

Although we may not work for praise and validation, it doesn't mean that we should be stoic in the face of it. I usually think of that as buttering up and start watching where I step but I'm a bit pessimistic at first.

7:33 PM  
Blogger LoraLoo said...

I like feedback - whether positive or negative, just give me the truth. It's motivation to move in the right direction, which I think is good for anyone who isn't a one-man shop.

10:43 PM  
Blogger mis_nomer said...

Er, I only like positive feedback. :) I will accept negative feedback too, but only if it is constructive.

11:30 PM  
Blogger RT said...

Mmmm... I like constructive praise, and constructive criticism. One without the other just seems unproductive.

But then, in my profession, it really does help me gage the service I provide.

3:29 AM  
Blogger RT said...

BTW, Congratulations!

I can't help but to think that in your line of work, when you get praised, we all benefit :o)

3:34 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I don't need approval to know I did a good job, but having someone notice that I worked hard makes me feel (and sleep) better. Its nice when your boss reassures you; kind of an implied you are not going to get fired or you could get promoted. Security.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Of course I enjoy validation, and I am not averse to constructive criticism.

What I can not stand is to be ignored
... to go for weeks without any type of communication from my superior. Would anybody even know if I didn't show up for a week? My students probably wouldn't tell.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I too don't need constant valiadtion or praise about the work I do. I know that I do a good job but it is nice to hear it every once in awhile from your boss and coworkers. It also tells me that they are noticing my performance.

11:54 AM  
Blogger dusty said...

I agree w/the 80's nut. Being a pessimist has its rewards! but in general we are social creatures and need the occasional "atta boy" to confirm our self worth in society..i love constructive critisism as well since i tend to be a type"a" type nimrod and always strive to do my best in everything...blame my parents for that..they never gave me an atta-boy..

12:55 PM  

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