Big labs are like big cities – you may feel lonely sometimes, but they grant you the anonymity.
I come from a little village, but living in a million-inhabitants city now actually feels good. I love to walk a busy shopping street and realize that nobody, not a single person, knows me! I feel FREE. The childhood nightmare of saying hello to any person in the street is over (most of the time I didn’t know who they are, but everyone in a small village knows the local teachers and their children; I still sometimes wonder how my parents take being such “public” people in that little, gossipy society).
Now about the lab. The bigger your lab is, the easier it is to hide. Or to stay home to work on your writing. I work in a small group now, 5 people and the boss, and I feel strangely exposed. Even though our boss never even mentioned the working hours, everyone seems to feel obliged to show up at lab.
Trouble is, my writing sometimes suffers, because there is just too much going on around me and I cannot reach a proper focus to achieve my writing flow state…
As a PhD student, I worked in a slightly bigger group, and if there was no meeting that day, I could safely stay home, given I actually had work to do. It was not welcome to do it all the time, but it was somehow easier to schedule your own time anyway.
Conclusions? No conclusions today. Just hope that my current boss will understand 🙂