Thursday, December 18, 2008

On asking for help early on when stuck

1) No, it doesn't make you look foolish.

2) You'd look foolish if you didn't take advantage of resources and tried to be heroic. Time is paramount. Never forget that.

3) Nobody is going to actually do your job for you. They will just give suggestions.

4) Be prepared to trust the help you get and take it seriously. For whatever its worth, even if it doesn't answer your question entirely.

5) Asking for help stimulates discussion. You learn a lot, and its fun to discuss this stuff with people who like talking about it.

6) Involving others also means a pressure to get the task done quickly, rather than drag your feet over it in isolation and be buried in complications you don't understand.

7) In the end, there will always be a part you will have to figure out by yourself, you can get your kicks from that.

8) (Obvious but) Reaching out for help speeds things up exponentially. I just wrote to folks from my old lab last night about trouble I was having with some analysis (At PhdAdvisor's behest). I already got a reply from one of them this morning. The fact that he spent time with my stuff at 1 am last night makes me feel so thankful. And while I was sleeping, someone who knows this stuff helped move it forth a great deal.

One of the many lessons I've learned the hard way.

4 comments:

milieu said...

Yeah its a painful lesson and I am still learning it. Its not good for your ego though but maybe thats also an important part of the grad school 'experience'

ferret said...

what i really wish to pick up from you is having such organised thoughts, i run into jumbles for anything and everything.

Tachyoson said...

This is so true.But sometimes people dont help because theyre competitive or busy.And seniors think youre bad if you help or ask for help ,a lot.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

milieu,
yeah indeed not good for ones ego. And as tachyoson pointed out, sometimes its hard to get help and that makes it more difficult to ask..and makes one worry about the impression one is creating.

ferret,
my thoughts get organized via blogging! :)

tachyoson,
so true!