Yesterday was the first time we have heard Everett use the term “lab”. He mentioned after dinner that we was going to his lab, which is the fort that has been in his room for several weeks. He goes there to conduct experiments. On his most recent visit to the dentist he received a rubbery ring that glows in the dark, so he made a cave out of pillows to test it. Yesterday Melissa was looking for a dress in her size at a store and Everett said “I’ll go into my lab and make one”, and then disappeared to the interior of a circular clothing rack. From his use of the word it appears that labs are a place where things are made and experiments are conducted. The next day Chris asked him what you do in a lab and he replied “You make inventions.”

Everett has now started having play dates with his friends, especially his good friend George. Last week George and Everett decided that they had to “got to work like two Dads”. So they packed their briefcases and went to the fort in the backyard. This naturally leads to the question: what does your Dad do? Both Chris and Scott (George’s Dad) perform research, which is loosely defined as what you are doing when you don’t know what you are doing. The defining features of novel research are that no one has done it before and that at least someone feels it is worthy of attention. What should we tell Everett that we do? It’s best to start with a clear title. Candidates are Researcher, Scientist, Professor, Principal Investigator, Neuroscientist, Engineer of some sort or another. However, the reality is that most academic faculty spend a significant amount of time on administrative nonsense and less time on what appear to be the primary reasons they were hired. Terms like “Bureaucratic Swashbuckler” might appeal to Everett’s recent interest in pirates but would do little to help clarify Chris’ job. Similarly, Melissa is a Genetic Counselor and a Bioethicist, and Chris knows from experience when he tries to explain what his wife does that neither of these titles can stand on their own without a fair amount of explanation. A confounding factor is that both of our jobs involve knowledge work with few clear boundaries. So perhaps it’s time to join the life-hacking movement and come up with new, creative titles. Of course we will enlist Everett’s participation in this process, and we will let you know what he comes up with. On a similar subject Everett has already announced that he is going to write a dissertation one day, and when we asked him for more details he explained “It’s just typing”.

No comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress
Natural World RapidWeaver theme by ThemeFlood