Unlike the rest of you forgetful bitches, VUBOQ actually remembers the things that I wrote on this blog! He is a loyal disciple of GayProf and will inherit the earth – or the blogosphere – or whatever I have that is inheritable.
Kidding aside, VUBOQ was totally the awesome. He was the awesome and another half awesome extra. And his DC haircut attracted quite the attention in MFT. You can read about our hijinks over at his place.
His and Dorian’s visit reminded me of two things. First, there aren't that many bloggers left around from when I first started this blog (They are two of very few who are still publishing original content). Second, MFT offers only modest entertainment for visiting guests. While the town’s funkiness is readily apparent, so is its midwesterness.
Have I ever mentioned how annoying it is that there is only a single gay bar in a town this size? Well, if I haven’t, it’s really annoying. During the summer, things aren’t so bad because they have patio seating. Come winter time, however, things get much more bleak.
Speaking of the impending winter (), it reminds me that the academic school year is about to start for most of us. Now is the time that those lucky few who obtained a job are settling into their new towns.
Some of the best advice that I think I have seen on blogs came from Rebekah. While I am paraphrasing, she once noted that it was important to act like the colleague that you would like to have rather than the colleagues who might actually surround you. I am lucky to have really fantastic colleagues at Big Midwestern U, but, as you might recall (Well, you might recall if you are VUBOQ, who actually remembers what I wrote on this blog), that was not always the case at my other gigs.
GayProf is far from being a perfect colleague (trust me), but Rebekah's words are sentiments that I generally try to follow. Since some are new to the whole working thing, I thought it might be helpful to outline some key difference between colleagues. Here is a simple guide to help you know what makes a good colleague, a bad colleague, and a crazy colleague.
When preparing a syllabus:
A good colleague will consider assigning material written by their fellow professors.
A bad colleague will assign hir own book.
A crazy colleague will be thinking about ways to sleep with hir students.
During a regular department meeting,
A good colleague will listen intently to other people's views and weigh in only when ze has direct experience or knowledge of the issue at hand.
A bad colleague will start a fight with another faculty member over a trivial issue.
A crazy colleague will give a monologue of no less than twenty minutes expounding on why they are under-appreciated within the department.
When a junior colleague explicitly asks a favor of a senior faculty member:
A good colleague will do hir best to fulfill the request, remembering how vulnerable junior faculty can be.
A bad colleague will ignore the junior faculty member’s request entirely and then complain that they are too busy and over extended.
A crazy colleague will use the request as evidence that the junior colleague doesn’t “deserve” tenure.
When a junior colleague explicitly asks a fellow junior faculty member to read a piece of work:
A good colleague will budget time to give a thoughtful reading and feedback of the piece.
A bad colleague will declare that they have more important things to do than to read anything from a junior person.
A crazy colleague will try to publish the work under their own name.
When passing in the hall,
A good colleague will say hello in a cheerful manner.
A bad colleague will avoid eye contact.
A crazy colleague will campaign to be made department chair.
In the department kitchen,
A good colleague will make the next pot of coffee if they take the last cup.
A bad colleague will empty the coffee pot into their personal thermos and walk away.
A crazy colleague will advocate replacing all coffee with Postum©.
When interacting with the department staff,
A good colleague will remember that they are peers, but simply doing different types of labor.
A bad colleague will treat them like servants.
A crazy colleague will have had to go through a dean-ordered sensitivity training from HR.
While in your office,
A good colleague will keep music or other media at a low volume, remembering that the walls are paper-thin and that other people are trying to work.
A bad colleague will blast Bon Jovi’s greatest hits over and over again.
A crazy colleague will be singing hir heart out as if at the London Palladium.
With graduate students,
A good colleague will allow students to gravitate to the faculty who they find the most helpful to their project.
A bad colleague will have graduate students mowing hir lawn.
A crazy colleague will jealously guard graduate students as if they were made out of gold. They will have an ambition to create a small army of drones who all speak the same as themselves.
During a job search,
A good colleague will dutifully read the application materials and attend the job talks.
A bad colleague will assume that “somebody” will read the materials, but that they are really too busy to care.
A crazy colleague will hire whoever fits their political agenda without reading a single word of the application.
When a visiting professor arrives,
A good colleague will be a cordial host and attend meals with the visitor.
A bad colleague will ignore the event or whine that their friends weren’t invited instead.
A crazy colleague will corner the visitor and plead for a job at another university.
When scheduling next semester’s classes,
A good colleague will consider the needs of the program as a whole.
A bad colleague will teach whatever they want, whenever they want to teach it (even if they only ever get eight students at a time).
A crazy colleague will declare that all courses outside hir own field are “silly” and “boutique classes” that shouldn’t be offered at all.
When an important policy document is circulated,
A good colleague will read it and give feedback by the date requested.
A bad colleague will read it several months after the policy change went into effect but still demand that their opinion “be heard.”
A crazy colleague will declare it part of a mass conspiracy to deprive them of their basic rights.
On the road to tenure,
A good colleague will recognize that everybody is under the same stress and try to create a sense of community.
A bad colleague will believe that it’s a “dog-eat-dog” world and every professor is out for hirself.
A crazy colleague will complain that their work is soooo much more difficult and special than everybody else’s and therefore deserves “special consideration.”
In terms of personal hygiene,
A good colleague will shower at least daily.
A bad colleague will arrive at department meetings straight from the gym.
A crazy colleague will have spiders living in hir hair and/or beard.
In terms of sexism, racism, homophobia, and other institutionalized patterns of discrimination,
A good colleague will educate themselves on the issues and think about ways to change the status quo.
A bad colleague will declare that such things aren’t their problem.
A crazy colleague will advocate revoking the department’s non-discrimination clause because white straight men are the “real victims.”
When a colleague publishes a new book, article, or wins an award:
A good colleague will send a short note of congratulations.
A bad colleague will say that there were “better” journals/presses/awards where the work could have been placed.
A crazy colleague will call up the editor/awards committee and ask why their own work wasn’t considered.
When a newly hired professor arrives in the department,
A good colleague will invite hir for a meal and show hir around to feel welcome.
A bad colleague will remind hir that not having tenure makes them “temporary.”
A crazy colleague will tell hir just how many people voted against hiring hir.
When talking about research,
A good colleague will suggest helpful texts that might enhance their work.
A bad colleague will recommend their own work as a helpful model of "true" scholarship.
A crazy colleague will talk wistfully of the good times in graduate school when they were able to have “real” intellectual conversations and how disappointing it is to not have that in their current department.
After a department function off-campus,
A good colleague will offer a ride to anybody without a car.
A bad colleague will not have shown up in the first place.
A crazy colleague will trap a junior faculty member in the corner to discuss hir recent diagnosis of leaky bowel syndrome.
During an external review,
A good colleague will outline both the strengths and weaknesses of the department.
A bad colleague will complain that they are underpaid and deserve a massive raise.
A crazy colleague will declare that all of the department’s problems only started once they hired "all those women and minorities."
After a rocky department meeting,
A good colleague will try to put it in perspective and move forward with no hard feelings.
A bad colleague will carry a grudge for the next twenty years and have an "enemies" list longer than Nixon's.
A crazy colleague will write a blog post about it.