A lab technician and blogger, in noticing a lack of advice for laboratory professionals who aren't junior faculty, postdocs, or graduate students, compiled a to-do list for career lab techs. "Above all, make sure that you and your PI have the same set of expectations for what you are doing," the blogger writes, and then adds: "Always strive to go beyond those expectations." As far as time management goes, the blogger suggests that their fellow techs "try not to agree to do things immediately after being asked. Many technicians (myself included) have a tendency to say 'Sure, no problem' when they're already remarkably busy and honestly don't have the time." The author continues that lab techs should refrain from becoming angry with postdocs who may "try to assert their position and say 'I wrote the grant that pays your salary, so you need to do X, Y and Z for me right now.'" Rather, the blogger writes, lab techs should remember that "being in charge of common ordering gives you a lot of power." Further still, the technician advises that their colleagues remain attentive to the needs of the lab — "often they are small things that would make everyone's life a little easier," she writes — and ensure that they're satisfied.
In a comment to this post, blogger LabMom at The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love adds her advice. "Present your data as much as possible," she says. "If your PI gives you a shot at a talk or a poster, go for it! It is amazing how much more respect and face-placement you will get if you put yourself out there." LabMom also suggests that fellow technicians "befriend the sales reps, but don't give them too much of your time." Overall, LabMom says it's important to remain flexible as a tech. "Don't fall into the 'I'm a tech and I work 9-to-5 trap' trap," she writes. "Be willing to do more when it is needed. This shows that you consider your role as more than 'just a job.'"