Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I May Have Mail

Upon achieving semi-galactic status in a particular academic unit, my mailbox was moved from its traditional spot amidst the throngs of regular faculty and researcher mailboxes up to an exalted location at the very top of the mailbox warren.

My staff said to me "If you want, we can get your mail for you and bring it to your Awesome Office and put it in a special mail-place like we did for your Distinguished Predecessors".

I thought, "That's silly, I'll just pick up my mail on one of my 57 daily trips through the office with the mailboxes."

But. I soon realized the flaw in my plan: I am too short to see into my new majestically elevated mailbox. This was not a problem for my predecessors, all of whom are men, going back into the 19th century.

Would it somehow detract from my attempt to cultivate an aura of gravitas if I placed a little step-stool by the mailboxes?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the contrary: While being stood upon, a stepping stool proclaims, "Look! Now I am taller than you!" Although redundant, this fact may also be audibly announced.

Anonymous said...

Easy! Have your mailbox put back where it originally was. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

In both my previous and current departments, my mailbox is in the top row, and I have to jump if I want to see into it or use a stool to reach things that are towards the back. I'm 5'2". This seems like some sort of cosmic joke.

Anonymous said...

Can you tape/glue a mirror to the inside "ceiling" of your box so you can still see if you have mail? This is assuming you can reach the mailbox, just not see inside.

Janice said...

We used to have all of our faculty mailboxes in alphabetical order but subsequent hires of height-challenged individuals whose boxes should have sat at the 6' level changed that. Now we have boxes assigned by height.

If you like coming by the office to pick up your mail, request a step stool. It's the least they can do!

Anonymous said...

Have your staff bring the mail for you, you deserve it, and it may free some time for you to write in your blog! :)

Congrats on the new position!

tomslee said...

Like Matthew Crawley, the nephew who suddenly moved up a class when he became the heir in Downton Abbey, you must now let your servants dress you, like it or not.

Dressing yourself simply takes their work from them and does them no favours.

plam said...

My mailbox is still with the throngs in the regular-people-mailbox-place. Unfortunately, I currently am at the top of a column of mailboxes, and so I can't really see inside the mailbox without jumping. I just have to get the department to hire a couple more faculty with names preceding mine, and things should be OK again. (Or, we could deny tenure to people ahead of me. But that's not so good).

Alex said...

Glad to see you're blogging more!

I propose that you do like other great scientists when they need to reach high: Stand on the shoulders of a giant. (I believe there's still a few of them in the Misty Mountains.)

Anonymous said...

I like the mirror idea! I can reach into mine but not see it (it's not particularly high up but I'm less than 5' tall) and constantly worry about what people have put in there before I reach in ;)

Anonymous said...

I love that. We do not have "special" mailboxes for the "most high"--even the Dept Chair is in the midst of the herd of faculty, along with fixed-term but long time lecturers. However, every few years ALL the mailboxes get shifted to accommodate new folks and deal with retirements, and thus our mailboxes plunge to the depths (the worst--you have to bend over to look in) or ascend to the heights. I also cannot see into my current mailbox (and I am 5'10"), but I can at least reach it to pull things out. I think a step stool is an excellent idea.

I HATE it when folks bring me my mail (occasionally when i am out of town someone from my lab gets that bright idea when they are looking for something themselves), as 90% of it goes straight into the recycling bin and another fraction gets "stored" in my mailbox where it won't get lost like on my desk.

Mark P

Cherish said...

I have the same problem with my mailbox in one of the departments I work for. I can barely reach it, let alone see into it.

Since you're now galactic, does that entitle you to ask for your mail to be put into a special basket *next to* the mailboxes, where it can easily be reached?

Anonymous said...

Step stool does not detract from your gravitas, although as mentioned, to move your mailbox back to its original placement would be most direct.

As others mentioned, allowing members to bring you mail may actually provide them an opportunity to drop by for an unofficial chat.....or is your department pretty open about matters?

mukuge said...

Strap the stool to thine feet.

EuropeanFemaleScienceProfessor said...

FSP, this is a status symbol, having one's mail brought to one's office. I know, we women tend to be practical and don't want to bother people. But if you are galactically important, then you need your mail brought to your desk and put in a special golden inbox container.

Don't ask for a stepstool....

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

I like the idea of sorting boxes by height, except that the staff (in our case work-study students) would take forever to sort the mail.

You could ask them to install a library ladder. Not only is that cooler than a step stool but it allows you to get on and slide from one end of the mail boxes to the other!

Anonymous said...

Get a stool. Then watch in great amusement as your male co-workers secretly begin to use it as their rotator cuffs begin to go out.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, by insisting on picking up your own mail you're saying you should be treated no different than anyone else. On the other hand, by accepting an exalted mailbox, you're saying that it's ok to be recognized as someone different. Maybe you could decide which one it is, and either put your mailbox back in the old place, or accept the delivery to your office.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? You should get (or request the staff keep) a little step stool because it would be the stuff of _legend_. The most bad-ass professor ever.

Anonymous said...

nLike Matthew Crawley, the nephew who suddenly moved up a class when he became the heir in Downton Abbey, you must now let your servants dress you, like it or not.

OMG I am suffocating with laughter. Thank you.

FSP, yes, have your valet (lady's maid? I need a primer on servant titles.) bring you your mail. Don't use a stool.

Congratulations on your new position. See how many more traditions you can break. I know I won't be the only one cheering you on.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a stepstool would be extremely badass.

EliRabett said...

This is not a bug, it is a feature. Say there is something you don't want to deal with. In that case, simply leave it in the mailbox. Ooops missed that. If a minion brings it as an offering, shoot him.