Friday, July 22, 2011


A surreal experience, of the conference kind:

A colleague, with whom I used to work, many years ago, but with whom I stopped working because he was so uncommunicative and because he sat on data for YEARS (so that in most cases I had to redo his work to have any hope of moving forward with the research) and because he did not comment on manuscripts (much less write anything himself) and because he was therefore a major and annoying obstacle to any progress with our collaborative research, recently complained to me about another colleague who behaves the exact same way to him as my ex-colleague did to me back when we worked together. He complained bitterly to me about this other person's lack of communication (!) and refusal to share collaborative data (!) or comment on manuscripts (!), much less write anything himself (!).

Does my ex-colleague's brain consist of compartments that are totally impermeable to each other so that he can act one way and complain about the exact same behavior in someone else? I am sure that it is fairly common to be annoyed by unsavory behaviors of which we ourselves are guilty, and perhaps this was just an extreme example.

Or did my ex-colleague know that he was complaining about his own behavior (in someone else) and was in some twisted way apologizing to me? I doubt it, but I suppose it is possible.

In any case, I just said "Omigod, what a jerk" and walked away. It was too weird, even for me.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Friday, July 01, 2011

I'm Not Here

** Note: This blog post has been certified 100% accurate by the FSPEB
(as amended, see footnotes) **

Happy July[1], everyone[2]. I am about to enter one of those See You On The Other Side/Academic Edition times of the year when I will be crazy-busy with professional travel and other research activities for several months [3]. In fact, the next time I can see a not-insane time segment of any significant length is late October [4].

Even epic-multitaskers have their limits, and we here at FSP are about to hit ours, especially for the next month or so.

Therefore, blogging will get erratic for a while, not just in content, but also in timing.

I did have a thought [5] the other day, though. When a commenter noted that it was not believable that some professors had behaved in a strange and rude way towards me during an interview for a faculty position (lo these many years ago), I started remembering how my friends and I used to entertain [6] each other by telling each other about all the bizarre awful things that happened at our job interviews.

Perhaps experiences of this sort have been collected elsewhere in the blogosphere, but, even if so, perhaps it would be a fun summer activity to retell some of these here. Surely there are some great examples out there of Professors Behaving Badly during interviews for faculty jobs?

So, if you are willing to be patient with my intermittent comment moderation, I hope you will share with us here some exciting experiences that you or those you know have had during a job interview (not necessarily of the academic sort, so as not to exclude anyone from sharing their disturbing and/or bizarre experiences).

Perhaps you even want to confess some bad behavior of your own during an interview (either as interviewer or interviewee). This is the time and place to to do it.


[1] This may be a false or irrelevant statement. I am writing this in June and posting it in July, and I have no idea when you are reading this.

[2] This is an exaggeration. Obviously, not "everyone" -- in the literal sense -- is reading this blog.

[3] which is why it kind of drives me crazy when people talk about professors having the summer 'off'. I don't even have time to visit my ancestral home this summer; this is both saddening and a relief at the same time.

[4] This is an outright lie. I have a few hours free on the afternoon of Thursday, August 18, and there's a weekend in late September that seems to be quite unscheduled at the moment. It is also probably an illusion. As late October approaches, it, too, may become packed to the rafters with urgent events.

[5] This is an underestimate. I actually had two: one at 9:37 AM and one at 11:14 PM.

[6] This is not an entirely factual statement. Some of the examples were not entertaining; they were just disturbing.