Do Not Disturb

Dear Wet Lab People,

As a computational biologist, I wish you disturbed us at our workstations with the same caution and reluctance you have towards disturbing other wet lab people doing bench work. I have a little theory that you subconsciously extrapolate that your downtime is when you’re at the computer to dry lab members. Let me remind you that this is not the case.

All you need to do is wait until I step away from the computer before asking or telling me something. Also, avoid having loud conversations nearby when I’m at the computer. In doing so, you will not distract me while I precariously hold the control flow of the program I’m working on in the front of my mind. Otherwise, I lose this mental model and need to recreate it from scratch every time I’m disrupted, which is grossly inefficient and increases the risk of software bugs.

Thank you for your understanding.


P.S. Feel free to use the Do Not Disturb sign (PDF version). I created it and it’s CC0-licensed.


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