Thursday, May 17, 2012

Drama at Work ... Nonacademic Style

I keep meaning to write a longer post in which I talk about how the "new" job is going ... but haven't really had much to say. I have a managerial role and higher pay in exchange for not much more work than I was previously doing ... so that's good. There was a little bit of minor drama when my promotion was still announced, due to the fact that some of my coworkers had their egos bruised because I'd been given the promotion over them.

But the drama has blown over by now ... the coworkers see that I'm not some crazed tyrant now that I have some managerial power, and they see that I'm still the same old JC that I always was - I still joke around with them and come to them for advice and brainstorming, and in general am still an okay person. It seems to be all back to normal, and it's all good.

(One of these days, by the way, I'll write up a post about job-hunting and job-seeking in this industry, with some information about how I got this job, what I do, and how we go about looking for new hires - which we're doing right now. Just give me a little bit of time to collect my thoughts.)

But for today, I just wanted to post this little tidbit of humor...

When my promotion was first announced a couple of weeks ago and a few of my coworkers got a little testy about everything, my first reaction was to get kind of angry. "Why did I take this stupid promotion? Why did I decide to keep working here with these catty people? Why did I ever leave grad school?"

Then I calmed down and thought about it a little more, and started to, you know, actually remember grad school. And remembered how academics can be some of the cattiest people in the world.

"Did you hear that Jamie got that fellowship? Can you believe it??? Who's she sleeping with???"

"You know that the only reason Sue got that award is because she's Professor X's favorite. I hear that Professor X writes all of her papers for her, and then personally called Journal Z's editor before she submitted her paper."

"Did you see John's presentation at Friday's seminar? Oh my god, it was soooo awful. I wanted to die. He's not even that smart. And he's so weird! He's never going to get a good job."

Academics can be soooooo catty. In fact, sometimes I think that the reason they're so catty and snotty is because they have to have something that they can lord over each other. With no rhyme and reason to the job market or to fellowship allocation or to who is viewed as a "star," people will try to find whatever means they have to make themselves feel good.

And just like the junior high kids who pick on other people just to make themselves feel better, a lot of academics will pick on their colleagues so that they can reassure themselves that those people's achievements are undeserved. Those people get special favors, and that's the only reason they're doing better than me. That person isn't as smart as I am. I mean sure, on paper they look better. But it's just because they're given special treatment. Not because they're actually better or - god forbid - because the system is unfair.

Catty, snotty gossiping behind everyone else's back ... it's rampant in academia. Because that's all they've got in an industry where everyone gets screwed and there's no rhyme or reason to who gets the lucky breaks or the good opportunities.

Sure, my nonacademic job was drama-filled for a couple of days. But ultimately, everything settled down and all is well. Because in the end, we're all paid well and treated well and are working toward the common goal of making our business successful.

We may not get along 100% of the time, but we can't waste a bunch of time being snotty and resentful toward each other. We have actual work to do. And all of us need to work together if we're going to get it all done.

1 comment:

  1. You've really made a good point with this post - and one that I always knew was there, but on further inspection, it is pretty funny (and/or sad) how ridiculous competition in academia can be. Thanks.