Saturday, December 16, 2006

Biotech Kiss-Chase

Lately I can't shake the idea that working for my evil global biotech company is a lot like the game of Kiss-Chase. Ever hear of the game? No? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn't, given that we live in a highly politically-correct, puritanical society. Kiss-Chase is a game I played when I was in third and fourth grade, and likely wouldn't be tolerated anymore, though we didn't exactly do it in front of the playground monitors. The idea is simple: the boys chase the girls, and the first boy that catches a girl gets to get a kiss from her, then the roles reverse and the girls chase the boys in order to get a kiss. It can only be played by elementary students, since by the time they reach middle school everyone is too cool or awkward to actually show they are attracted to someone. Of course, the unspoken purpose for Kiss-Chase is to display favoritism and popularity, not to mention it's a great way to tease your potential beau or belle by nearly getting caught then suddenly running off. If a girl likes you, she'll slow down just enough to get caught and kissed. Funny, I don't remember actually catching anyone…. or getting caught for that matter.

So here I am, a far older and less silly lab rat (and, I might add, much too tired to go running around). But nonetheless, when I go to work, I still feel like I'm chasing after something, only it's not a cute girl at the end (more like an oozing, sickly monster), and the only kissing going on is ass-kissing. Name your topic and I'm sure it applies: raises, promotions, getting programs approved, buying equipment, having more than a marginal voice in the projects I do. This certainly isn't specific to biotech, but before my company went public we at least had numerous projects to work on, including some of our own innovation. Now, to get a project moving toward any sizable amount of R&D time, I have to chase after the business case, which means chasing after the business manager, which means kissing up to my supervisor enough to have him approve even a cursory preliminary test of the idea, which means doing more work to make up for the other ten things I'm supposed to do instead, all the time wondering if I'll actually get any credit even if a good product comes out the end of it all, a year later. Whew. No wonder fewer products are coming out of my company these days! Just thinking about all of this makes me feel as if I've been running in circles trying to catch the girl, butt-ugly as she is, yet she teases and then runs away again before I can give her a peck on her slobbery lips.

Maybe I should just go play dodgeball with the guys….


Maggie said...

Ok this is priceless. A great analogy. I played that game as a child also. This got me to thinking how corporate attitudes are holding up innovation - inventions, cures, etc. We need to get back to a more forward thinking path. But then, you're living it.

Anonymous said...

Cool analogy, but I am not sure where you get the idea that the politically correct, puritan society is preventing kids from playing the game of kiss-chase.

I think that this is the fault of scaredy-cat administrators that don't want lawsuits; you know, the ones that suspend kids for three days for bringing plastic pirate swords to school.