Friday, September 03, 2010

Email Irritation

After spending that time yesterday learning how to get a student's progress analysis from the new computer "system," and as the departmental cheese for the moment, I sent out an email to my departmental colleagues saying something along the lines of:

I hate the new program, but I spend X amount of time with a deanling trying to learn how to get a progress analysis, and to save you time, here's how. And then I had a short bit about feel free to delete, and then gave the basic directions.

One of my colleagues emailed the list back asking a further question about the special analysis, and I answered that, again to the list.

All good so far.

Then I got an email from a different deanling, not someone associated with our department (and thus not on our list) basically condescendingly congratulating me and the colleague who asked the question for figuring out how to do the progress analysis. And then he re-answered the colleague's question, adding ONE SENTENCE of new information, but otherwise repeating what I'd said. And then he added that later in the semester, he and the a-hole deanling whose incompetency caused me irritation this spring will be coming around to teach us about the new system.

I'm instantly irritated. I'm not quite sure why, but I have some ideas. I mean, I'm sure he "meant well," but I'm not feeling the love.

1) He's not part of our department. WTF is he doing reading and responding to our departmental chatter?

(Answer: yet another deanling--we have an abundance of deanlings--who is on the departmental list forwarded it to him.)

2) He re-answered a question I'd answered correctly without acknowledging that the information had already been covered. Seriously, deanling, if you are going to jump into a conversation, at least have the MINIMAL courtesy to look over what's already been said and not act like you're providing new information when you're not.

Our administrators are so eager to "communicate" that they blather at us without acknoledging our part of the conversation, much less recognizing that we've actually said something. For once, I'd like one of these administrators to treat me like I have a brain. (And yes, this deanling is one of the sexist porch drinkers.)

3) He and the incompetent a-hole (another sexist porch drinker) are going to come teach us MUCH too late (more than a month from now) to be useful, and if the incompetent a-hole is as incompetent as he was before, incompetently.

My dissertation advisor used to relish telling a little story about some physics or other sciency field. Here's the story: A grad student was doing some big oral or defense (I have no idea the details, fill in the blanks.) One of the examiners asked the student to explain complicated "theory X." (Again, fill in the blanks). And the grad student said, "I don't know theory X, but I know where to find it when I need it." And the examiner responded, "You need it now."

It's a sort of cruel story to tell your grad students when they're preparing for exams, I think, but it's apropo here. What I'd like to say to the deanling is that I won't need to be taught how to find a progress analysis in a month. I needed to know yesterday.

4) I'm in a foul mood. But it's Friday, so I have some hopes.


  1. And you haven't responded, "Thank you so much for planning to come see us next month. Unfortunately we need to do this right now, so we won't need to take up your time."??

    You are much nicer than I'd be. Though I would send that to one person, not the list.

  2. gah, he hasn't even got the grace to compliment you on passing the information you dug up, no thanks to deanlings. your colleagues are probably smart enough to know who went out of her way to pass along useful information, and who jumped in later to claim credit.

    i like the idea of thanking the jerk for adding that one bit of information; crediting the staff who helped you get the answers when needed; and then asking for some other [anticipated] issues to be addressed at the big fat meeting. maybe copy the snitch deanling, but this need not go to the whole list.

    it makes them nervous [and behave better] when someone demonstrates appropriate conduct and a superior knowledge of what's needed, without resorting to public rudeness.

  3. oops, i misread -- apparently you got most of the goods from a deanling. just how many are in that herd, over there?

    but i wouldn't be surprised if ordinary staff helped out somewhere, and when i was in a position of responsibility [not necessarily power], i always liked to credit those people -- because so often they know how to get things done, but they hardly register with the porch people.

  4. The other Susan has just the sort of snarky response I'd be wanting to say but would be too timid to actually say myself.

  5. TGIF indeed! Have a great weekend.


  6. At the very least, don't go!!!