Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Conference Etiquette, a Quiz

You are a relatively prominent professor at a research university and you meet with a younger and (currently) unknown scholar. The younger and (currently) unknown scholar introduces herself to you and notes that you were originally scheduled to be on a panel together at another conference but has since heard that you will be unable to attend said conference. The younger and (currently) unknown scholar expresses her flattery at having been placed on a panel with you and regret that you will not be at said conference. The proper response in this scenario is:

A) Say, "I am sorry, too, and was looking forward to hearing your paper. Sadly, it could not be avoided, but the panelists are all so strong that I will not be missed at all."

B) Say, "Oh, they got you to replace me. The chair and I had put together a panel of just the two of us, but I had to back out at the last minute to suck up to my former advisor, the oh-so-famous-and-important-historian -- did you know my former advisor is the oh-so-famous-and-important-historian? -- he is oh-so-famous-and-important-historian -- and I know him -- by first name -- and will tell you personal details about his life to prove it -- and he's important -- and famous -- and was my advisor -- so I couldn't refuse because he is oh-so-famous-and-important-historian -- so I had to back out at the last minute and didn't think anyone at all could possibly replace me. But they found you. I have to go now."

If you are the younger and (currently) unknown scholar in this scenario, your proper response is NOT to slam back several more drinks and think "god, I must be a real loser." Instead, your proper response is to smile politely and think, "Dumbass, Be Gone!" Then, write a bitchy blog post.

Perhaps the last bit about the blog post is not the most professional response, and violates just about everyone else's blog ethic. Then, again, you have no blog ethic except not to name names in order to protect the bitchy, with the bitchy being yourself.


Courtney said...

Thank you so much for the phrase, "Dumbass, Be Gone!" I love it. I'm hearing it in my head like the banishing cantrip used by Vianne in the sequel to the novel Chocolat, "tsk, tsk, begone!"

Ink said...

Oh, so was the advisor famous and important or something? Geez.


feMOMhist said...

well since FU is clearly not an option, I suppose yours is as good as any :)

and I'm sorry about the Berks experience. I hope you got something out of it at least. Someday when I finally "come out" once TTLAC goes under or I quit, I'm looking forward to meeting you for reals.

dykewife said...

i wonder if looking at them like they lost their grip on reality and mutter quietly "just back away slowly" would deflate their ego. probably not.

or: the next time you meet them quickly don a protective face mask (like sandblasters wear so they don't inhale sand particles) and say that you're not wanting to catch vainus idiotus from being in such close proximity to them. or would that be too subtle? :)

i'm all about subtlety.

Susan said...

Someone just failed an etiquette quiz!

Digger said...

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm, wow.

People are amazing!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Heh. Awesome.

(Your post, that is; not the incident that prompted it.)

Clio Bluestocking said...

Courtney: I wish I could take credit for it; but, alas, it's author is my old grad school bud, Babu. It works best if you imaging Capt. Jean-Luc Picard or Darth Vadar saying it!

Ink: I think her advisor was famous and important. I'm not sure, I might have to ask next time I run into her. Although, I may have trouble getting the answer if her lips have not yet been surgically removed from his ass.

Also, I love Ink hugs!

FeMOMhist: Isn't it a shame that FU is not an option more often?

I did get some good moments out of the Berks -- several, as a matter of fact -- sadly, the parts did not equal the sum of the whole, which was not one of the most positive experiences. Your posts do a much better job of explanation.

A for reals meeting would be cool!

Dykewife: Nice idea! I especially like the face mask. It could be steampunk, too, couldn't it? Alas, for this person, as well as others, I do not think it would be subtle enough.

Susan: Failed with a capital F minus!

Digger: Yeah, I know, right? Just, damn.

Notorious Ph.D.: "Awesome" has many shades of meaning depending on the inflection. There is "Awesome like the universe," and (as in Eddie Izzard's bit) "awesome like a hotdog." Then, there is the "so opposite of awesome that it goes all the way around the world back to awesome." The incident itself was definitely the third.

If you want to term the post the first, however, I absolutely won't argue!

Janice said...

Ugh! Sadly, with academics, I can imagine B all too often.

Wish I'd gotten to see you more than the short bit on Friday evening at the Berks. I had a good but overwhelming time at the conference (I was there too danged long, I think). I was so glad to meet up with you, though!

Clio Bluestocking said...

And speaking of good parts of the Berks: Hi Janice! It was great to meet with you, too. Sorry I didn't find everyone after I finished my drink. A venerable professor from Rutgers and I ended up finishing the night at the bar. Glad you had a great time!

profacero said...

So, Rather Well Known Professor still feels like a graduate student inside, or something.

I had a realization today about the extent to which some people really do see the whole thing as a "pissing contest" and ego polishing venture.


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