Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Crazy

My week of living blogfully concluded with a bang. I enjoyed a long weekend of visiting with VUBOQ. It’s interesting that two of my favorite bloggers, Dorian and VUBOQ, both happened to appear in Midwestern Funky Town in the same week.

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 (**non sequitur alert**), 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.


vuboq said...

I luvluvluv your posts like this (even when they don't begin with links to me). And I'm very excited that I'm going to inherit your dishware (I may have to buy a bigger place though).

I also should've asked for some Crazy Colleague stories.


dykewife said...

does this mean i'm not one of your favourite bloggers? *pout*

of course, being a gravitas list entry i had to read it to bran. me being a grad student and bran having been the president of the arts society years ago both of us can see bits and pieces of them in various faculty.

Mel said...

Okay, I'm very jealous you got a visit from VUBOQ, especially since he was considering a visit up in this direction before he decided to visit MFT instead.

I do read every one of your posts, though. My first grad school advisor trended towards the crazy, most definitely. Which is why I took a leave of absence and changed advisors.

pacalaga said...

Sigh. I heart you and these list posts. You make me smile.

scotrock said...

Oh my. That list is so on the mark. I was happily categorising my colleagues as I read. Until I got to the last one...and the discovery that I may be a crazy colleague.

tornwordo said...

I remember the hideous colleagues in Texas. I don't know if you're crazy as insinuated at the end there but you and VUBOQ would make a cute couple ; )

Alan said...

1) Every bar in MFT is a gay bar if you're with the right people. :)

2) Ugh...don't depress me, I have to start looking for jobs this fall. I shall use your list as a travel guide.

LurkerWithout said...

So would a drone army be non-crazy as long it doesn't use grad students? I mean what if you just had ads requesting volunteers to serve in the Glorious Revolution?

GayProf said...

VUBOQ: Remember the days when having a link from me actually generated new readers? Good times, good times.

I had planned to be interred with the dishware.

DykeWife: You are one of my favorite bloggers . . . who hasn't bothered to come to MFT.

Mel: But I had been waiting to meet VUBOQ for four years! I had dibs.

Pacalaga: It seems the modified list is my genre.

And I heart you, too!

Scotrock: Sadly, in somebody's eyes, we are probably all the "crazy" colleague.

Torn: Mama always said that crazy is as crazy does.

Alan: Eh -- There is a difference between a gay friendly bar (e. g. MFT Brewing Company) and an actual gay bar. Call me old fashioned, but I still like the latter.

LurkerWithout: If GayProf leads the Revolution, that won't be a drone army. It will be wise collective of like-minded subjects -- or, er, I mean citizens.

Wicky said...

Where is my department kitchen?

Clio Bluestocking said...

You did work in Texas, didn't you? LOTS of crazy collegues there.

Roger Owen Green said...

I just realized: Sarah Palin is a crazy colleague.

Frank said...

Yet another meetup with a blogger who isn't me. Harumph!

dykewife said...

i would come to mft if i a) had money to do so, b) had money to do so and c) had money to do so. alas, not only to i not have spare cash, but i don't get paid holidays right now (my holiday pay is paid out on each cheque).

GayProf said...

Wicky: A bad colleague presumes that everybody must have a department kitchen. . .

Clio: Possibly the craziest.

ROG: Well, she would need to be employed somewhere to be a crazy colleague.

Frank: Board a plane or get into a car and get yourself to MFT.

DykeWife2: Excuses, excuses.

Historiann said...

Hillarious and sadly all too true, GayProf. I love your "multiple choice" posts and quizzes--this one almost made me shoot piping-hot black coffee out my nose and all over someone else's desk. Ha!

You will not be surprised to hear that I've seen just about all of your scenarios--the good, bad, and the crazzy, as you say.

Java said...

I used to think I wanted to work in academia. I've changed my mind. I like going to school, but I don't believe I want to work there.

Haven't read your blog in a while, but VUBOQ's tales and pics of you reminded me what I'm missing.

susurro said...

This was very funny and the pic of you and vuboq in that dreary bar is the most endearing thing I've seen in a while. :D

Does it make me a crazy colleague if I was looking at a wonder woman collectible the other day from PR and momentarily regretted not having your address or $1000?

PS. I too am stalking the guy from Being Human

dpaste said...

Too much content to comment on specifically. Loved this.

Anonymous said...

My God. This makes the majority of the colleagues I have had, bad. This explains a lot.