LabLibs: The Passive-Aggressive Instrument Note

Thumbnail2It’s the bedrock of the modern workplace.  It’s the piece of paper that instantly annoys the reader.  It’s the communication style that really isn’t communication.  Ah, the passive-aggressive note.  If we can’t beat ’em- well, you know the rest…

Work environments that include common spaces, shared resources, or co-workers are particularly fertile grounds for the passive-aggressive note.  Labs fulfill all three of those criteria, so odds are, you’ve seen a note posted – recently…

We’ve all felt that wind-out-of-the-sails disappointment or the head’s-going-to-explode anger when walking up to an instrument that’s been completely abused by the previous user.  If the offender is unknown, the choices are few- 1) waste half the day walking around trying to find who did it, 2) send out an email blast that will almost certainly result in no response or 3) fix the problem and move on.  Due to the inevitable avoidance of responsibility by the guilty party, we almost always end up at step three, which often leads to the spontaneous creation of step four- make sure they know you’re pissed.
Unfortunately, we can’t stop people from being irresponsible. And in their defense, there may well be a valid reason they left the instrument in bad condition.  So maybe the classic passive-aggressive note is not the solution.  Let’s rephrase that: It’s not.

So we thought maybe we could meet halfway – a note that is so passive aggressive it makes everyone involved laugh (hopefully), not stroke out.  To this end, we’ve created a generic passive-aggressive note “LabLib,” that can be placed on any instrument.  Within a few seconds of noticing a mistreated instrument, a form can be printed, filled out and taped to the violated piece of equipment.  We included all of the essential passive-aggressive features: all caps, bolded emphasis, multiple exclamation points and sarcasm.

Implementation is simple.  Click on the image below to download a blank pdf version of the note.  Then fill out and affix firmly to the appropriate area- usually with colored lab tape.

So next time you are wronged by a lab injustice, take a breath, fill out your LabLib and laugh it off…


[Click image below to download PDF]

Click for PDF!



Got an idea for another LabLib? Drop us a line and let us know!


8 comments so far. Join The Discussion

  1. kfly

    wrote on February 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Alan — this is destined to become a lab classic… brilliant!!!

  2. whizkid

    wrote on February 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    There's always one of those notes stuck somewhere around here- can't wait to upgrade them…

  3. playlady

    wrote on February 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    AWESOME!!!! Could this pad be translated for dating purposes???

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  6. biogeek

    wrote on September 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Love it, I will definitely make use of it as I become a lab manager for a lab filled with grad students.

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