Oct 042016
andy in the lab wearing gloves

Research science labs are full of little glassware empires and invisible bench space frontiers which, your sweaty gloved mits should never pass. Just like prison, you’ll need to learn the unwritten rules of the lab. Unlike prison, you don’t have to hide things in your bum or fight someone for their footwear, unless that’s your thing.

This ain’t no undergrad lab

Welcome to the big girl’s/boy’s table! We are not in Kansas anymore Toto, etc (you get the idea).

So, if you want to annoy people, act like it is a first year undergraduate lab. Channel your inner just-turned-18-and-insecure teenager and let them out! Leave all your chemicals on the balance – when asked if it’s your mess say “the lab tech’ll get it” followed by this face:
Bitchy smile/smirk

You’ll be given a couple of gentle reminders by the senior member of the lab and they’ll talk about you behind your back. You’ll know when it happens because an email will be sent out from your supervisor (who actually never enters the lab) along the lines of:

Dear Lab Users,

It is unfortunate that I have to write this email, but it has come to my attention that the lab is regularly being left in an untidy state. This is both dangerous and discourteous to your colleagues. 

Please clean up after yourselves and leave the lab in the state in which you found it.

Read this as: CLEAN YOUR SHIT UP *insert name here*!!!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK’S WRONG WITH YOU!


A research lab is full of invisibly claimed glassware, good pens, good tweezers and “my” pipette tips. When tweezer tips touch perfectly it’s as if karma is rewarding you for peeing the stubborn poo stains off of the pub toilet. If you want to annoy everyone in the lab – slightly twist the tweezers so that the tips are slightly off centre – don’t do it too much, we want to turn that precious sample into a microscopic helicopter on it’s way to oblivion.

Nothing is more precious than a good pair of tweezers. Nothing. If you do have to borrow some, handle them like a new born child. That is, if you drop them on the floor when no-one is looking, it never happened.

Someones else’s lab coat

Wearing someone else’s lab coat is like wearing someone else’s underwear. Underwear with pockets which are hung up in a public place and only washed after you feel ashamed of the stains. Should someone be found wearing your lab coat you have the permission to pull down their pants and bite their bum.

Passive aggressive notes EVERYWHERE!

The passive aggressive notes are there for your own good. Feel free to contribute to the passive aggressive notes left in the lab. May I suggest:

PLEASE make sure this bench is kept tidy – I know who you are.

Stop farting in the lab – if you are going to do it turn on the fume cupboard.

and a personal favourite:


Annual lab clean up

The annual lab clean up is like the ultimate team bonding experience. Here, everyone looks busy whilst actually doing not much to nothing. You have to turn up! If you aren’t there without a really good excuse, it’s the equivalent of borrowing someones car, leaving a turd on the passenger seat and parking in the sun.


What other things would you add to this? Let me know in the comments:

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