Friday, September 15
Some (many?) academics seriously lack social skills. Some really really lack them. Occasionally this translates into (or is the result of?) some type of egomania. The problem is, if said academics have advisees then their advisees may "grow up" to think that being so unbelievable egotistical is the norm in academia and not only is it okay, but it is desirable. While in some cases it may have positive outcomes, in most it does not. So what do you do to the young scholar being mentored by such a person? Do you pull him aside one day and say "Look, this is not okay, you really do NOT want to immitate your advisor. Seriously, for your own good, don't go there."

Said advisor's students don't necessarily get great jobs. But one of them a few years ago landed a very good job. It had nothing to do with the advisor, it turns out, but naturally, being the egomaniac that he is, he attributed it to nothing but himself. Unfortunately, it also probably leads his students to think that the advisor is helpful. His students since have only done okay, if ending up with a job at all. If only that would suffice as a hint to future generations.

PS. Don't tell me, "advisor" should've been "adviser" in this entire post? I never got that.
PPS. The "a" in the post's title does not refer to academic, rather, a certain cushy part of a person's bod. The "something" refers to something else.


strawberries said...

i would think that being around other members of the dept who are not egotistical would demonstrate its futility to these students... that said, i really have no advice to give.

re: advisers and advisors, i was taught in HS, so keep in mind, this data is dated, that adviser was for newspapers, ie the newspaper's adviser, and advisor was for everything else. i have no idea if that's true.

fraud, in denim said...

We had a student like that in our department a couple years back (and a few of those advisors) and I think that what finally knocked her into shape was a really crappy year on the market. She got a TON of interviews, but not one offer. I think the experience cut her down to size and she realized that ego might not be the way to go.

I hate ego, and a.somethings, but most of all, I just don't have any respect for those people who just end up mini-mes of their advisors - academically, socially, politically, etc. (While in some disciplines, that might be expected, mine's one that rewards innovation and creativity).