I have an undergraduate degree and I'm working as a medical researcher in a research lab, affiliated with a University. I've done very little since being employed, due to problems such as:
- lack of usable samples for projects
- equipment being broken down for long periods of time
- issues getting trained on equipment & techniques
- waiting on reagents with an otherwise unspecified delivery date
Sadly, roughly the first 6 months or so into work I was given very little to do so had to try and self direct as much work as possible, which I filled by teaching myself software programming and data analysis automation. There were several attempts to get me trained on things that would support my project but due to people being too busy or not wanting to give up time for their own work, every attempt failed and the training would get forgotten about. This was a difficult situation as the people training me were not actually a part of my group (I don't actually do any work with my team), but collaborators/colleagues/students from other labs in the institute.
Programming worked very well for a good 4-5 months but now I'm back into another rut with all of my equipment being out of order with an unspecified ETA on repair as well still waiting on reagents. Whilst I know this happens in science all the time, when it comes on the back of nearly half a years worth of not a whole lot it's hard to keep spirits high.
This has caused a severe reduction in morale and 'excitedness' about work and I often come in day to day feeling depressed and unhappy because all I can do at the moment is busywork (lab stocklists, cleaning, etc). How do people go about dealing with a slow moving or otherwise stagnant project for long periods of time?
I should mention that I love the environment I work in, including my boss and the people I work with. I got the opportunity to move to an entirely new state and experience a different way of living, which has been very nice. My boss is happy with my work (I was re-contracted) and says I have very good ideas and is sympathetic to my current situation but has little to offer in terms of solution, granted he's not able to speed up repairs or make my reagents come in faster!
I thought this warranted a clarification. I have done some work which has contributed to the project and provided some good insight. I am now trained and fully autonomous in the work that I need to do. My only restriction at this point is having the equipment I need to work and the reagents for them. A problem which is kind of rife throughout medical research.