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Mentoring, suicide and Harvard

Pamela Norton pnorton at hendrix.JCI.TJU.EDU
Sat Dec 12 02:14:49 EST 1998

In article <366C0249.E0C1E198 at salk.edu>, nospamforsburg at salk.edu wrote:

Newsreader insists that I trim the quoted material...
> The complete lack of positive feedback contributes to this-- 
>  all anyone has ever wanted to tell me is what is wrong with 
> what I'm doing, and now that I'm on the faculty, this constant 
> criticism is more striking than ever. It's not that I can't take
> criticism, it's just that on occasion, it would be nice to hear "good
> job" when something goes well.  Instead, I find people are great at finding
> clouds over every silver lining.  (Paper got published?  It's in the wrong
> journal.  Grant got funded?  Not enough money.  Interesting result?
> Probably an artifact. Invited to a meeting?  Never heard of it....)  
> So, I try to give encouraging comments to my students and 
> postdocs regardless of how their experiments are doing.  But is that 
> enough?
> -- 
> -susan


     Your comments have made me appreciate my relatively supportive
colleagues (well, many of them are supportive). The atmosphere you describe
sounds as though these folks are envious of the success of others - sour

     You ask if you are doing enough by offering encouragment to your
students and postdocs. What more would you consider doing? I agree that
trying to find something positive to say is a good idea (a "well you've got
the technique working nicely now, your controls look great" sort of thing).
Encouraging them to be supportive of each other is important, but it sounds
as though you are doing this already. Did you have anything specific in


Pamela A. Norton, Ph.D.          Associate Professor of Medicine
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, PA 19107           p_norton at lac.jci.tju.edu

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