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.


Rah said...

How about this: Prepare a sign that says "Long distance conference call in progress" or something else pretty generic. People will then understand why you are in there but not answering. You could turn on a radio or play some online music softly during the process to help cover the pumping sounds if you wish. You can share the ruse with colleagues if you feel comfortable doing so, and it's a good enough cover for others. Sure, it's a white lie, but better than "Professor XX is pumping her breasts." I can't decide whether that would lead to fewer or more doorknob jiggles. :-)

Average Professor said...

You know, I actually DID have a post-it note saying "On a conference call" that I put on the door at first, but then I wondered if anybody would notice and find it bizarre that I was on a conference call twice a day every day - not that I am so popular that people are hanging out in the hallway to catalog my every move.

The Adjunct Professor said...

Didn't you know that no answer to a knock on the door translates to "Come in, I was expecting you"?

I recall a number of years ago when a friend was asked, "So, when are you going to have kids," (really a rude question to ask), she replied, "I'm having trouble getting pregnant". She explained that it shut up the questioner. Rather than putting a post it note on the door, next time someone jiggles the handle after you don't respond, try saying, "Do you mind, I'm busy breast pumping right now".

It might seem awkward, but I bet that's the last time the guilty party jiggles the handle.

Candid Engineer said...

I like the adjunct professor's idea. Not that I'd ever be ballsy enough to do such a thing. I think your current system (lock the door) is your best option. Maybe the conference call note for the times of day with the most traffic?

Ms.PhD said...

At least you have a door that locks.

And yeah, we generally assume everyone is deaf.