Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Confessions Of An Immature Professor

Today a colleague was looking for my husband, but couldn't find him, so the colleague came to find me instead to ask me where my husband was and to see if I knew the answer to the question he was going to ask my husband. It happens with some frequency that someone will look for my husband, not find him in his office, and come to my office to ask me where my husband is. I don't mind so much if my husband is out of town and someone has been looking for him without success for a while, but other than that, it's just another interruption in my day. AND, the *strange* thing is, when people can't find me, they don't go ask my husband where I am.

Anyway, today this colleague asked me his question because he couldn't find my husband. It was a logistical/technical thing, and it wasn't something I could answer because it involved my husband's lab and the fee structure for an apparatus. My husband's lab tech could answer this question, but it's not a typical *pillow talk* topic for us. This is the same colleague who confused me with one of my female colleagues a couple of days ago, so when he asked me his question, I didn't say that I didn't know, I just made something up. It wasn't life-or-death and I doubt if the time he ends up wasting will set him back in a serious way. If he ever wants to ask me a question that is really intended for me, I will answer as graciously as I can. But not this week.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

He must thought you are your husband's labkeeper. I did know some faculty couples in a same department sharing fundings, students and papers. Ph.D. couples like to be students of them so that their sharing can be admitted. I guess you and your husband are not one of them.

agprof said...

Never never never collaborate with your husband, especially not as your primary activity. You will NEVER get appropriate credit for your joint work. Men and women alike will assume that the man is doing the "deep thinking" and the woman is doing the "technical stuff". I knew a highly accomplished woman professor once who worked many years as a full collaborator with her husband. He died, and she expected to carry on with their work, but she was booted out because all those years her colleagues had assumed she was his technician. Even people that knew them well assumed that she would be unable to continue the work without him. She was really shocked because she had always believed that people gave her appropriate credit.

DONT DO IT. Carve out your own research area as far from his as possible, and always use your own name. If possible, don't even tell anyone outside your institution that you're married.

Sad, but true.

Female Science Professor said...

Clarification: I DON'T COLLABORATE WITH MY HUSBAND and I don't work in his lab. We are independent researchers, we are both tenured faculty members, we have our own labs and our own research specialties. That's why it is so bizarre that our colleagues ask me questions about my husband, as if I keep track of the details of his lab, but they don't ask him about my lab.

agprof said...

Sorry Dr. FSP, I was actually directing my comments to your first commenter "anonymous" who felt that PhD couples get more recognition for their joint work from PI couples. It is clear from your blog that you do not collaborate with your husband. I also should have added that many women are very happy collaborating with their spouses but they should not expect to receive appropriate credit for their efforts, and as long as they don't mind that and as long as the marriage lasts I expect that is fine.

Carrie said...

Women are traditionally the household managers. Who knows when the kid(s) Dr's appointments are? Who knows that there is a dinner party next Friday? Who sends the birthday presents to grandma and grandpa? Traditionally it's the female-half of the couple. So of course you should be keeping track of where your husband is at all times, and of course there's no expectation that he would have any idea where you were or what your schedule happens to be. Sarcastic, but true.

Ms.PhD said...

I think Carrie's right. My boyfriend has a mind like a steel trap for everything but my schedule and what groceries we need. It's some kind of deliberate incompetence, and everyone goes along with expecting women to be organized and always know where everyone and everything is, but men are allowed to be clueless on these matters.

Of course, not knowing your husband, is it possible that you're more available/approachable, so they would ask him where you are, except they can't find him or don't want to knock on his door, while yours is always open?

Anonymous said...

Woman are more approachable then men. Lazy male colleagues may feel a woman would naturally want to help them, or accommodate their request, or whatever. Not too surprising your colleague would ask specific questions concerning your husbands lab...perhaps wants to save face with your husband so he does not look dumb. Men usually competitive with each other, particulary with other men. Still he seemed unconcerned with appearing totally stupid with you, which means he may not take your role at the university very seriously. Perhaps these male colleagues asuume also you are the 'household manager' so you therefore must know your husbands business. I think, however, in the case of this particular colleague, it is more likely that perhaps he is intimidated with your husband. Very annoying indeed.