Thursday, November 30
No, not some adorable guy at the campus coffee shop, but another professor in my own department! It's not the first time we've talked. His office is close to mine. He knows things about me, he just doesn't know my name. If you know about someone's personal life, I mean beyond what most know, shouldn't you take the time to learn her name? I saw him look at the nameplate beside my door as he opened his mouth to speak. Ugh.

Of course, another professor who's been around here as long as the first (and has the same tenured, full professor status), and whose office is equally close to mine, has never even spoken to me. This didn't stop him from sending a student my way to have me head a thesis committee because, and I quote, "She's a new assistant professor and will have more time for work like that than I do."

I guess it's just the end of the semester stress that has me venting. Unfortunately, unlike my students, these guys don't go home for winter vacation. I can't wait to move up in the ranks, or until colleagues like these move up in the ranks enough to retire.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how people can't have even the curiosity to learn who the new folks are. Much harder when you're new and trying to learn many old guard names and faces.

It was half-way through my second year that a senior faculty member asked me, in front of one of the secretaries, who my major professor is. The secretary laughed and laughed, pointing out that "Dr. Youngun is faculty." Ugh! All that time he assumed I was just a grad student who hangs around a lot.

strawberries said...

wow. i was preparing a post in my head about this same thing.

and the person is in the same position as me. though he is a he, so that may have something to do it it.

and he asked for my name in a situation where he was introducing me to someone. he also called me girl.

i called him a few things as well, in my head though.

fraud, in denim said...

My God, Strawberries! How big is your department?

Earlier this year I had an experience similar to anonymous. It was a few months into the semester and there was a reception of sorts for grad students and faculty and I was standing talking to two senior males from my department when a third senior male walked up to the conversation and started it by asking if it was my first, or my second, year of grad school. Luckily I didn't have to say a word because the other two stepped in.

What makes it so sad is that these "little" interactions actually speak volumes, yet they're so often overlooked or thought of as unimportant.

strawberries said...

lets just say that i can count the people using only my fingers.

of course i am only visiting, so i guess i'm not important.

Salmon Ella said...

The professor for whom I TA gives pop quizzes in class. He makes students put the name of their lab instructor at the top of their quizzes, and if they don't know, they get a max of 80%. I told all my students they better remember my name for that reason alone, ha.

I'm seriously bad with names, and I was actually pretty stressed about the idea of teaching because I was worried about not being able to learn all the students' names (and on top of that, I have this problem that once I get it in my head that someone 'looks' like a certain name, I continue to call the person that name even if that isn't said person's name). But I can seriously not imagine not knowing a faculty member's name--ESPECIALLY if I were faculty myself!! That is ridiculous.

Turquoise Stuff said...

Sorry to hear about this. Quick question though: other than your colleague looking at your door sign, do you have other evidence of him not knowing your name? I ask, because name tags and such somehow attract gazes even when the information is known. I have certainly noticed myself looking at people's nametags at conferences when obviously I know their name, I have known them for years, I went to grad school with them, etc. So I just wanted to make sure you hadn't jumped to the wrong conclusion.

I'm in a sufficiently small and very friendly department that I'm pretty sure all of my colleagues know my name even though some of them are far from just across the hallway from me.

fraud, in denim said...

I thought of that, too, TS. I don't think that my nameplate is very salient in the whole office door scheme of things, particularly when the door is open.

He never calls me by my name, only the girl from Timbuktoo. So I assume he thinks since he knows about me, my childhood, and my hometown, he gets to forget my name. I disagree.

So while I'm not positive, I'm pretty sure.

Salmon: I hate it when students don't know the names of professors or TAs. Your advisor's idea is great.

Roy G. Biv said...

Ah yes...the anonymity of working at an R-1. This is the benefit of working in a smaller environment, one with fewer...um...research expectations (and the attendant hierarchies?). Not only do all my colleagues know me, I know a good number of faculty from other departments and other divisions. (I even socialize with some of them - gasp!) Seriously - what you describe strikes me as a bizarre aspect of the alienation of academia. In my own dept there are a couple of faculty who assert that they need not be in their offices any time other than 5 minutes before and after classes. The rest of the time they are 'working' off campus. Maybe so, but the alienation of walking into a hall of closed doors (on a Monday, mid-day) is another hallmark of academia. We could go on about these quirks - I could - for days....

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least you have an office and a nameplate.

There's definitely a correlation between them remembering your name and when they want you to do something for them.

But you guys make me wonder whether being faculty is really better than being a postdoc. It sounds like it's just the same shit, more pay.

--msphd

Orange Ina said...

Ms PhD, there are definitely advantages to being a postdoc over being faculty. For one thing, you get to skip the committee meetings! There are also implications for the amount of advising you have to do and all attached issues (like writing letters of recommendation). Some postdocs even pay better than faculty positions. So no, it's not necessarily a move up, except that if it's a tenure-track position then there's a bit of stability that may come at some point.

fraud, in denim said...

I agree that there are definite bonuses to post-docs. I would have loved to have taken one. Moving with my son once, though, was hard enough. I wasn't ready to uproot him twice in as many years.