I've had someone, from another land, come and talk to me about problems in her lab. She's not the PI, she's an older, experienced tech. Someone who knows what "He's dead, Jim" means. Her PI is young and not tenured. The PI is jumpy.
And jumpy is a kind and gentle way to put it. I do know the PI, a little. I'd say the PI is borderline neurotic. I'd also say there are underlying reasons for this. Not excuses, observations. The PI is worried about tenure. The PI has issues with her research program. If the PI came up for tenure now, it would not be A Good Thing. But, the PI also has time (3 years), brains, and good ideas. The PI works hard. The PI does not have to be jumpy.
Part of me would like to say to this PI: calm the fuck down. But I can't and I won't. If anyone says to me now, let alone back when I was a whelp, "calm down", I (now) stifle (only sometimes) my preferred response which is "I am calm" and then punch them in the throat, so that I break their hyoid and larynx and cause them to asphyxiate. If I am in a slightly good mood, I give them my best steely eye (which is saying I am about to punch you in throat, but you're not worth it), and say "telling a woman to calm down is insulting, patronizing and feeding into gender-stereotypic roles about behavior and enthusiasm". I say to them "my passion and enthusiasm are me, and I'm dreadfully sorry that you don't feel the same way about your science /work / exercise regime".
So what to do about this PI? I believe she would be happier if she could look at the tenure issues somewhat differently. I know her lab would be happier. And while a drawer of chocolate is a good thing, it won't consistently solve the problems of a jumpy PI. My current solution: I will take the PI out for a glass of wine. I will give her a place, in confidence, outside of her tenure hierarchy to unload. I will refrain from advice unless asked, and just try to show that the world is not coming to an end. At least not in the next three years.