When one is about to leave a lab, there are certain traditions one must employ.
You can't just get a big box, throw all your stuff in it and head off into the wild blue yonder making plane crash noises.
There are many nuanced steps to extricating oneself carefully from a lab. The first of which is boxing up and labeling everything you've worked on.
Every now and again you'll get the diligent lab worker who labels everything, keeps it well organized and creates a flow chart of what is where in the freezer/fridge. They are a strange and rare species which should be shunned and feared and forced from the mighty castle of research with pitchforks and torches.
Everyone else relies more on the, oh just put it in a rack and stick it somewhere in the freezer. I've got another project I have to start in two minutes, and I'm sure I'll use it all up in a day or two. After which you will never look at that tube again.
So when one is laid off, you must spend an afternoon digging through the frozen recesses of the -20 freezer taxing your brain to remember just what the hell that slightly brown 50 mL conical tube is.
If you're really nice, you'll even put all the could be helpful to someone down the road samples into freezer boxes.
And then label on the outside just what is inside the boxes.
There is something incredibly depressing spending a few hours cleaning and organizing and realizing that a year and a half's worth of work can fit inside 4 freezer boxes and that there's a good chance no one will ever use any of it again.
The next step is to update my lab notebook and then show my old lab mate just where everything is and basically everything I ever did. (It feels kinda weird to have all of my random lab skills just get shared in a half a day or so, talk about making sure to never be needed again).
The rest of this week will be very bittersweet as I pack in and begin serious job hunting. I'm so sick of it, and thanks to the wonderful economy and the cliquey nature of labs I have a long hunt ahead of me.
At least I'll have my paintings and puppy to keep my days occupied and full. And if the puppy gets into the paint then it could be a very full day indeed.