At a scientific meeting, clinical sub-discipline, a friend, let’s call her Alicia, was giving a great talk. It was an invited “seminar”, an hour long presentation about the role of a specific research sub-discipline and its potential for impact on clinical treatment. Alicia is an assistant prof, who has gone out on a limb to move into this new area (to the sub-discipline). She had worked very hard to give a talk that was both in content and presentation accessible to everyone, especially the young clinicians who go to this meeting for continuing ed credit.
In this talk Alicia mentioned her PhD mentor, who had done some very important work in this area (since Alicia had left the mentor’s lab). However she did not mention her postdoc mentor, Jane, who thinks that her own work is exactly in the new area Alicia is pioneering. Jane has used the buzz words, etc, but is really clueless. (full disclosure: this work overlaps some with mine, but I’m mostly a bystander here).
At the end of the talk Jane, the postdoc mentor, went to the microphone (its a 400 person session), and started making the most passive-agressive statement. Not a question, but she said something along the lines of “Well, Alicia, as you remember when you were my postdoc, we talked about this, and you have left out considerations of X and Y, which, as I taught you are very important”.
X and Y are actually totally irrelevant.Alicia was puzzled (but strong enough not to engage said mentor either during the session, or afterwards). I said it was the best compliment she could get, it meant that what she was doing was important, and everyone felt they needed to be part of it.
Conclusion: no one at the meeting was fooled, and Jane falls into the basket of “de-mentor”.