Friday, April 24, 2009

Interpersonal conflict: just like a TV show

I have a colleague who is probably about 5 years older, faculty, and had been working on a project that I'm supposed to take over. It took months to make email contact with her, she didn't really apologize for that, and then I concentrated on other projects because I found her long email response time (and associated traits) difficult to deal with. Plus she is beautiful and well-dressed with pictures of her beautiful, well-dressed kid all over her office, and assorted baby equipment.

And I find the project daunting in tedious ways (i.e., it's a time-consuming new trendy method, and it's not clear that all the time put into the method yields much better work than things I already know or other things I could learn).

But I came back to the project, though, because I like the PI and I wanted the PI to be happy with me.

This colleague is difficult in all the ways you can imagine. And yet I had an "after school special" type breakthrough with her when I noticed no pictures of a significant other in her office. Just lots of kid pictures. And no ring on her wedding ring finger, just a ring on the engagement finger that looks nothing like an engagement ring. Or wedding ring, for that matter.

So if she is difficult to deal with maybe that is part of why. And baby equipment in the office could be that she is a single mom without a backup in case the child is sick. Who knows.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Whoa, diss!

I'm applying for back-up postdoc funding in case I don't get a faculty job next year. I had 4 committee members, two of whom were helpful. One was my main advisor. The other active member was the only committee member I fully liked and respected and appreciated their feedback --- really looked up to them. Never worked with them other than on my dissertation paper revisions, but I just really liked them.

This person wrote a recommendation for me and wouldn't put it on file in a dossier service, but said I should ask whenever I needed it. Of course not planning ahead very well, I never did ask because I was always asking too late to expect them to be able to do anything. Now I am planning ahead, starting an application several months before it's due (go me!), and so when I asked if they could update the letter they said no.

The first response was: you really should ask someone at your institution. When I replied that actually they request people from grad school, the second response was that they didn't have time. I thanked them and said I thought I could find someone since the deadline was so far off.

But I feel really stung, especially since I like them so much.

I felt like everything had been going so well. And, otherwise, it is.