Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Self-worth

Scene: in a colleague's office. We are having a project meeting, one that was actually scheduled ahead of time this time.

A student knocks on the (open) door.

Colleague: Hi, Student.
Student: Hi, Colleague. Is this a good time?
Colleague: [doesn't even look at me]. Sure! [now looking at me] We can pick this up later, right?
Me: Uh..... [stammering in disbelief]

OK, I thought. Maybe he has office hours now, and maybe we talked about this when setting up the meeting and I just don't remember. So I agree to leave and I say we'll pick it up again later in the week.

Turns out, though, that there were no office hours. Nope, Colleague deemed me to be less important than the random student at the door, who showed up out of the blue.

I am angry that this happened. I am angry that my colleague treated me this way, in a way that seems very disrespectful. I am angry at the message that this sends to the student---that student time is always more valuable than faculty time. But I am most angry at myself---for deferring, unquestioningly, to my colleague, for letting him treat me so disrespectfully, and for deferring to the student so easily (and what message *that* sends).

(I did receive an apology, later, from the colleague....although I had to explicitly point out what was wrong with the scenario before the apology came. But I'm still angry.)

3 comments:

~profgrrrrl~ said...

What an awkward situation. I do think deferring may have been the right choice though -- no need to have potential conflict in front of the student (who may not have even considered what was going on).

I'm glad you ended up calling your colleague on it, though. Your time is important!

AiE said...

Ugh, that totally sucks! It's hard to figure how to negotiate those situations when they're happening.

Not that it's any consolation, but I would be totally pissed, too.

Jane said...

PG, I agree that not calling my colleague on it at the time was the right thing to do. Thank god I was so shocked though---the shock prevented me from doing what I would have instinctively done, which is get mad right away.

AiE, that's a cool picture! (off-topic, but I had to comment on it---I love it!)