My first week in the lab was great, especially when I learned that I would get my own lab space/bench in a place of peace. Now anyone who's every worked in a lab knows just how precious lab space can be especially since last semester, I barely had what could be called lab space and I had NO desk!
Ironically, the mean lady came by my new lab space 2 floors from hers (and confrontationally of course) to ask me how things were going (turns out that the post doc training me has some issues with this lady, so once I realized this, I made it my job to stay the hell out of this asinine mess between them).Of course, I handled the situation professionally and with class, but I had no idea how mean lady found out I was going to be in a new lab space. So take one guess as to who essentially went behind my back to spread MY business in an "in your face" kinda way? You guess it, the post doc training me. She KNEW when she told mean lady I was moving to another lab (before I had a chance to) that she would confront me about it because that's the way mean lady handles things. However, I could tell by the way mean lady talked to me (offering to help, being somewhat friendly) that she too was aware of the rift the post doc was trying to create between me and her. In fact, the mean lady sarcastically asked the post doc if she could move somewhere else to do her work (To which I said to myself, daaaaammmmnnn, that was cold!).
So what's the point of talking about all this? In research there are MANY landmines URM's have to avoid, but one of the biggest one's to avoid is being seen as combative (BIG joke for anyone whose read some of the things I've posted on the Internet, lol!!), second you must FIND a "bright spot" in relationships with everyone no matter how mean and nasty they are, but most important of all, make it known that you're there for business.
At the end of the day, I had to let the post doc know that in so many words, that I didn't appreciate her going to the mean lady before I did, and the mean lady ended up literally giving me a "high five" after our conversation and life and lab. Now THAT'S what I call making lemonade out of donuts!