The other day I talked to another post-doc who is in hir fifth year and about to leave the lab. Hir parents are visiting soon and ze asked hir PI to take a couple days off. The PI told hir no and said that ze could take 2 days, but only if it were a Friday and a Monday, in order not to disrupt hir experiments. This post-doc left the office feeling angry and sad. The next day ze asked again because hir parents had already booked their flight tickets to come visit. The PI agreed this time but only under the condition that ze would work 2 extra weekend days to make up for this time off, and if ze wouldn’t get data on those weekend days ze would have to come again on another weekend day. Did I already mention that this post-doc has a small child and would this way miss a couple of weekend days with hir child?
I think this type of control by a PI is quite ridiculous and does not add to the productivity of this post-doc or the entire lab. On the other hand, I also don’t understand why this post-doc puts up with this especially when ze is about to leave this lab.
There are other PIs that are on the other side of the spectrum and leave everybody extremely free to do whatever they want.
What are your thoughts on the appropriate level of control a PI should exert over his or her lab members?