Monday, February 24, 2014

Starting the week off right: Clyde from Carolton can’t keep cool about his colleagues

Colleagues: the only things worse than students.
IGNAZIO the immigrant:  I’m happy that you came to the US as a poor eighteen year old and are now a professor, living the American Dream.  That doesn’t mean you can single out foreign students to pick on them, as if they must work as hard as you did.  “You’ll speak English in my classroom or go back where you came from!” is not an acceptable way to speak to any of our students.  I don’t know the ins-and-outs of whether an immigrant can be a xenophobe but I do know an asshole when I see one.

Old Fashioned OLLIE:  We are tired of hearing about how much better the students were in your day.  How you think the teacher in Another Brick in the Wall was a softy for not belting young Pink on the head.  We are bored to hear again that these new “iblueberry smart lapphone tablets” are just a fad and we’ll all be better off when we go back to writing things down in pencil.  Oh, and the Registrar HATES you for trying to turn in your handwritten grades instead of typing them in online like we’ve done for the past twenty years.  We would just bide our time until you fall over dead except that you’re only 35.  Being so young and cantankerous makes you an unpopular, obnoxious pain in the ass.

ALVIN the avoider:  You have a special knack for avoiding committee work.  None of us particularly like it but some of it is important.  You just blow it off and fail to get the work done.  This means that the higher-ups now view you as too stupid to handle anything more complicated than scheduling a meeting.  This means more work for the rest of us.  Pretending to be incompetent is a dangerous game to play when you’re surrounded by very smart people.  I can’t wait to see this blow up in your face.

Clyde from Carolton


  1. Those were GREAT! I'm starting my Monday morning class with a snarky smile!

  2. Alvin won't be getting MY peer recommendation for his T&P application. And the T&P committee is staffed by faculty who understand first-hand the importance of committee work.

  3. I know a person that fits two of those three.

  4. Alvin sounds like my assistant department head at the place where I used to teach. He had to be the laziest manager I ever knew, giving every indication that he had retired on the job. Typically, he began his day with a cup of coffee and parking himself in someone's office to chew the rag for an hour or two, taking a break once in a while to do a bit of work.

    He dumped almost all of his duties onto the desk of some subordinate, including me. In later years, though, he didn't do that to me too often as I'd either tell him to do his job like he was supposed to or did those tasks so poorly that I was never asked again. There were, however, those duties for which his signature was specifically required and he huffed, puffed, and moaned when he had to do them.

    When I heard he retired, my first thought was: "How can they tell?"

    I also had to suffer with an anti-Ollie in my department. While Ollie comes across as a luddite, this chap showed off to all and sundry just how smart he thought he was by doing all sorts of fancy tricks with whatever software program he was using. There were times when I couldn't figure out if anti-Ollie was immature, insecure, or simply obnoxious--maybe all three. Whatever his motives, he certainly didn't impress me.

  5. We had an entertaining email contribution in my department last week, from an older colleague retiring this term, a legend in his own mind. The minutes of a committee meeting were published, including the assertion one of the research groups had been consulted regarding a petition from a student. Prof in question announced to the entire faculty he hadn't been consulted, and would the minutes please be changed to reflect that fact. Being on the committee, I had to restrain an urge to ask the secretary to say exactly that: "Professor X was not consulted". It was a good reminder to us mid-career people to never become "that person".