Scenes from a Marriage

Me (catching a glimpse of my reflection in the airport tram windows): Crap. I look like I drank too much last night, slept poorly, got up at 5:30 am, and hit a deer on the way to the airport, don’t I? (which is exactly what happened)

Him (pause, panicked look, followed by emphatic head-shaking): Noooooooooooo. You look great.


Titles and respect

I see a lot of bloggers complaining that their students do not call them “Dr. So-and-so” and how that is disrespectful – and how it happens far more often to female faculty than it does to male faculty. Having done quite a bit of teaching myself, I understand the problem very well and sympathize.

But I would argue that it is worse when you are in an administrative position and the faculty members that you are managing assume you are staff, and address you as “Ms.” in their emails. Even when your email signature clearly points out that you have a Ph.D. When I was hired for this position, they were looking for someone who had a Ph.D. and who would continue to do active research, because they felt that it would be valuable for many of the responsibilities of this job. They are even giving me a faculty appointment in one of the departments to assist with things like getting funding. However, several of the faculty members involved in this center apparently did not get that memo, because they clearly regard me as a secretary of sorts. Which explains why they never fucking answer my emails.

I am disgruntled.

Things that fill me with rage

Day 1: I send an email to all faculty with Request 1 for information.

Days 1-9: No response.

Day 10: I send an email to all faculty with Request 1 for information (Repeated), this time making it sound more urgent.

Days 10-15: A few responses dribble in.

Day 16: I send an email to 4 faculty members with Request 2 for something else needed for an upcoming event.

Day 18: One of the 4 faculty members – WHO NEVER RESPONDED TO REQUEST 1 – responded to Request 2, saying “This would be a lot easier if we had a list of info [that I asked for in Request 1].”


Hooray, it’s off my desk again!

Submitted. Whew.

The week thus far

It’s lunchtime on Wednesday, which means the week is halfway over! What have I accomplished so far this week?

  • Attended 5 meetings
  • Written 92 emails
  • Received 106 emails (not including the ones I have deleted already)
  • Gotten 2 manuscripts to the brink of online submission (1 first author, 1 third author… can’t submit the first authored one until the one that I am third author on is submitted – argh!)
  • Booked a hotel to visit some collaborators in a couple of weeks… paying out of pocket
  • Successfully prevented a budget-related misunderstanding
  • Made several (largely unsuccessful) attempts to solicit information and feedback from faculty
  • Reviewed applications for two open positions, although I’m not technically on either search committee (but my feedback is “valuable”)
  • Submitted an evaluation of an article to an online resource that does such things
  • Asked the IT guy to post at least 3 things on the website, none of which have been posted
  • Started 2 work-related wikis… but everyone is suspicious of them because the SSL certificate is weird
  • Worked on planning 2 future events… and miles to go
  • Completed 4 online training sessions… see earlier post
  • Been asked at least 15 questions I couldn’t answer

Is it Friday yet?

Online training – seriously?

My university is getting ready to go live on a new online financial and human resources system. They have set up a whole mess of training: online self-paced training, webinars, and face-to-face instruction. In theory, this is a very good idea, and should avoid disasters when the new system goes live.

In practice, however…

Based on my administrative roles, I am required to do some of this training myself – about 35 “courses.” I have already done several of the self-paced online sessions, which were painful (“The Main Menu tab takes you to the Main Menu”) but at least I could zoom through them quickly. Now I am starting to do some of the webinars (and fortunately, I can just watch previously recorded sessions). I thought that the webinars would be more advanced somehow… but it’s really just a person reading a powerpoint.

And the powerpoints themselves – ouch. Here is some actual text from one of them:

E‐doc is short for “electronic document.”

The e‐doc has fields you fill in, but on a computer, not with a pen or pencil. The computer checks what you enter against rules.

Surely my time would be better spent doing something else.