Friday, January 23, 2015


I have a question for colleagues out in the ether of the internets.  Let me preface this by saying that I try to be a good departmental citizen.  I do my part.

Say there's a job candidate coming.  In the past, the department has put out a sign up sheet, and we've signed up for a meal, and then we've had the meal with the candidate. In recent searches, however, the department chair has done a thing where zie has emailed to arrange the meals, basically, a "can you go to this meal on this date with the candidate."  And in the past, I've said yes and gone.

But it's never as convenient as when I can pick my own meal.  And one of the advantages of picking one's meals was that you could see who else was going, and hopefully sign up to eat with some folks whose company you enjoy, along with the candidate.

Here's the question.  I got the "have this meal with this candidate" email, and said yes.  But the time's not great.  And what's more important, the other faculty folks assigned to the meal aren't folks whose company I enjoy.  It's not that I hate them; I just don't enjoy their company, and don't generally socialize with them.

So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being unforgivable and horrible, how bad would it be if I emailed the chair and said that the meal assignment wouldn't work out for me?  (It's plenty early, so it wouldn't be a matter of causing impossible problems for the chair.)


  1. Anonymous4:45 PM

    Especially in the context of being a good departmental citizen generally, I put this as a 1. Totally forgivable. If you want to be an even better department citizen, you could say "I can't make this meal, but i could make this other one (with better people/ at a more convenient time)."
    -Life of a Fool

  2. I was going to say exactly Life of a Fool's comment; I think that if you ask to swap dinners, rather than just trying to get out of it, you're not being horrible at all!

  3. Agreed. I think this is about a 3, on the scale you suggest, and if you indicate other availability probably even lower. And things do come up; you're clearly a good, reliable citizen; etc. don't sweat it!