The Lab Rolls, Just Like The Rolling Stones

lab-historyxWant to see what our lab looks like? That’s it on the left. “What?” you say. Where are the pictures of the equipment and the smiling faces and the heads peering down microscopes? Sure, those are all interesting ways of showing the lab. But I was looking for something new.

Inspired by the timeline charts that Wikipedia uses to show the comings and goings of the various members of my favorite rock bands (did you know there have been 14 members of the Rolling Stones?) I decided to create a timeline for our laboratory, from its beginnings in 2005 to the dawn of the new decade.

The chart has one row for each employee, contractor, or consultant–a grand total of 67 people. One column for every year–21 of them now. Different colors for the different areas of the lab: pathologists in blue, histology in red, administrative in green, etc.

Each piece, each element, means something to me. I can compare the three colors when we started to the eight colors now, and see the natural evolution of the laboratory. New disciplines such as hematology and cytology have been added-and I will be searching for a new color when we add a molecular microbiology section later this year.

All those names in the left-hand column! I know they are too small to read in this blog, but when I look at a full-size version of the timeline (we keep one in the breakroom) I can read every name and I remember (almost) every person. There are two of us from the first days, the days when there was no lab but only a dream of one, who are still around. I have been saying “good morning” to a few others for almost as long. Two or three of our techs have come, gone, and returned–there are gaps in their personal timeline.  Those are people who discovered there was no lab like their UroPartners home.

In all, we list 46 people who have left the lab for good. Many used the lab as a stepping stone to their career goals; doctors and nurses and pharmacists and super-coders. Some became supervisors in other laboratories. We are proud of them all.

Although it is true that a few staff members have left under less than optimal circumstances, that is a rarity. I have been happy to write letters of recommendation for the vast majority of our “leavers.” Sadly, we lost two of our valued employees to death–and I think of each of them almost every day when I walk down our corridors checking each department.

We do have a picture wall in the lab decorated with group shots from our annual Lab Week celebration. Most people consider those photos the best way to mark the passing years. But my left-side dominant brain likes the timeline chart. After all, if it works for The Stones it works for me. Who says I can’t get no satisfaction?

Happy New Year to all!

The above is the opinion of the author and not UroPartners LLC.

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Filed under: Laboratory, life style

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