Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't come a-knockin'.

So, as I am still more or less breastfeeding my ~7 month old kiddo, I pump a couple of times during the day while I'm at work. This is no problem, as I have a private office and I can just shut the door and go about my business (several years ago a staff member, who did not have a private office, had a baby and also pumped during the day, and did it in the bathroom; I feel comparatively quite comfortable with my own arrangement).

The only thing I feel weird about is when somebody knocks on the door. Because my office door is sort of flimsy (the old-timey kind, with the large window of clouded glass on the top half, rather than the solid kind) the sound of the pump is audible from just outside the door. So I think sometimes people know I'm in there, just not answering.

Whatever. They knock; I don't respond; they maybe come back later.

But three times during the last month, somebody has knocked, I don't respond, and they jiggle the doorknob.

Fortunately, all of those times, the door has been locked, so the handle jiggling comes to nothing. But I find this very weird. Why jiggle? If I don't respond, it probably means I don't want to be disturbed. Does this person think maybe I just didn't HEAR the knock (or see their shadowy figure through the glass) and that if they just pop their head in I'll be all pleasantly surprised? Or, can they not BELIEVE that I'm really not in there or really not interested in talking to them?

But really: HOW AWKWARD would it be if the door were not locked?

Answer: Extremely awkward.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dr. M, again.

So, this guy? He is requesting (demanding? instructing?) that our colleague "Kenneth" be added as a co-advisor to my graduate student who is working on this project. I get the sense that Dr. M feels that Kenneth needs some "incentive" to become more engaged in this research, but, both Kenneth and I agree that adding him as a co-advisor, when I am already totally in charge of the student, will have no effect, and Kenneth's lack of 24/7 participation is due mostly to the other pressing demands on his schedule and not in any way due to how he is officially listed in this grad student's academic committee.

I feel very pushed around. Selection of an advisor should be between student and advisor, and not be demanded by a third party. Right? The departmental graduate program committee chair advised me that if it's not going to pose any clear advantage to the grad student, then, we should not play games with his committee, and should leave things as they are.

At the same time, if it makes no functional difference, then we could acquiesce just for the sake of collegiality. Also, Dr. M controls the first batch of funding for this project.

Kenneth votes for appeasement. I'm torn. I'm sure the student won't care one way or the other, since it's just a matter of paperwork (and principle).