Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reasons to be blank

1. Can't think verbally
2. Got nothing good to say
3. Poker face
4. Can't get in trouble this way
5. Endless possibilities for things to say later
6. Room for thought
7. Silent fears
8. Generalized apathy
9. Other people put words in my mouth anyway
10. Who's even listening? Nobody hears

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13 Comments:

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Ambivalent Academic said...

Did you mean for all the rhymes. It's an unpleasant subject matter, but it reads almost like a poem. Maybe you intended it that way.

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger tnk0001 said...

11. Silence frightens critics more.

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger Clio Bluestocking said...

Ah, yes, I know that place well.

The list does have a certain poetic quality to it, too.

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've tried to add my 2 cents to your "naive" post for the zillionth time! won't go through. I keep getting some stinking error message from hell. You might want to check into it.
I'll keep trying....

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

tnk0001- huh? Not in my experience. They presume silence = acquiescence.

Anon- no idea. Blogger kind of sucks like that... feel free to post the comment here instead...

 
At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 1:
I've watched tenured profs with no grant money, no proposals in the works, utter crap for a CV, get handed year-end research money to throw at the wind when productive grad students could have used it for field work and publication costs. When it comes time for handing out teaching assignments, dick swinging and pissing matches galore. The labs with 5 R01s are squeezing out the n00bs, even telling them that they would "bring down" their gonna-do-shit as usual proposal. We already know how women and minorities get shafted in salary, tenure, promotions, grant funding. The same rigors applied to scientific pursuits aren't applied to the scientific community. It's a political game when deciding who gets funded or not, who gets hired or not, who has to teach Crap 101, who gets promoted. We all know of excellent teachers/researchers who were denied tenure and people who don't know shit from science get tenure handed to them on a platter.

You're not naive in that you don't know all this shit. I think it was more about excelling past it with the thinking that if you're a superstar and do great work, all that political bullshit won't apply to you. You won't need to use political leverage (ass kissing) to cover up shit science.

People with the label of "Scientist" above their heads will (coulda shoulda) be able to objectively judge the quality of the work beyond their own personal vendettas, egos, and bully pulpits. I got into science because I love the stuff I get to do. I loved school because I loved the learning. It wasn't cuz I got to hang with the cool kids for lunch (yeah, right) or wanted to be valedictorian. My only thought was "find something I love and do it." I think about the students who walk in lab and ask to do research because they "just need 1 credit of A", "need research experience for grad school application", or my favorite, "my boyfriend works here." Hell to the no working with me, go play somewhere else.

 
At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 2:
It's absolutely imperative to find your own personal Tribe of Science to succeed. Asshats abound, and there needs to be people who will lobby for you in your corner on standby. It takes alot of looking around for trusted colleagues who "get you" (particularly harder for women and minorities), so this is why meetings and collabs beyond the regular lab crowd is important. You already know all this. Your PI is an asshole. There's 1000s of big and small cuts from grad school to postdocing from assholes, sexist pigs, morons, and yet, there are those who breeze on by getting good jobs with no blood shed but yet no battle wins. Sometimes I wonder if being naive is a gift. La la la. I also wonder if battle wounds become neon signs that say "she bites back" and "go ahead asshole, make my day."

Once I started talking to men and women about some of the shit I've been through, I realized that men have far more options in that they 1) don't need to be near family for help with raising kids (that domesticated shitwork is on the woman), 2) don't have to deal daily with sex harassers and misogynist bastards (in fact, they hardly notice them! him? really? he grabbed your ass? for real? huh? nah, he didn't mean it.), 3) are already deemed more competent than women (yay, male privilege!) and have an easier time recruiting students, 4) get more grant bucks so more papers --> more collabs, more "awards", and 5) don't have double standards (like when my teaching evals say "she brags about her research", "she's a lesbian", "she needs to get laid", "she is too hard and has her own agenda".... guess I wasn't man enough for what they are used to (but the quality of my teaching was rated "excellent").

I still don't quite get DM's beef. I see a lot of privilege waving (to use his term which I like) in that he's higher up the food chain and white male. It's easy to criticize and look down on those who have a hard time making it up a steeper hill.
[the word verification is resqu. indeed! HALP!!]

 
At 8:44 AM, Blogger JaneB said...

Oh yeah, silence clearly reads 'the problem has now gone away' with overtones of 'I won/reason prevailed', especially if female has been silenced by male, in my experience. (this may well be genderist, but think most would agree that women are more attuned/socialised/trained to noticing types and qualities of silence, thinking carefully about causes of them). Yet sometimes letting 'them' get the wrong idea can be better for you than continuing to bash yourself against the bars of whatever place you're in... you have to have a certain amount of strength, of peace, of self to take focused, effective action - or even to spot a gap to take that action in - and I get the impression you're right out of all reserves at the moment. I do hope you get the chance to replenish those a little this summer - yeah, no rest for the researcher, but maybe more daylight, some walks 'in the nature', a visit to a good friend or loving family member, or ice-cream at the beach are still options?

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Unbalanced Reaction said...

Agreed. Silence tends to (always?) makes critics/aggressors think they have won.

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger butterflywings said...

Yeah, silence is usually taken as acquiescnce.
Which bugs me. In my case, silence means 'I am thinking about what you said and how to respond' but people assume I agree/ give in. Ag.

 
At 7:19 PM, Blogger Juniper Shoemaker said...

Hang in there. You can do it.

(No. I'm not being insincere.)

 
At 6:39 PM, Blogger tnk0001 said...

...ok...the silence thing works better in person when its accompanied by a knowing look

 
At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to me, silence means "I'm ignoring you because you are so insignificant you don't even deserve a nanosecond of my attention, you little fly..."

my PhD advisor used to do this thing where he would send you an e-mail to summon you to his office urgently. But when you then showed up and knocked on his open door, he would just continue to work on his computer without even glancing up at you once or saying anything (not even a "hang on I'll be with you in a bit"), for several very uncomfortable minutes even though he knew full well you are there and he was the one who summoned you urgently.

in some situations, ignoring is a power maneuver or an ego trip. The more powerful or higher status person shows their higher position by ignoring the lower status person (and by making them wait).

That was years ago. Now I get annoyed when some people (usually men) do it because I perceive it as them trying to posture at me. So now I don't just stand there meekly waiting for them to finally acknowledge my presence. Instead if they want to ignore me then I just proceed to "amuse myself" by picking up/ touching the stuff on their desk, re-arranging their chairs, flipping thru books on their shelves and so on. This always causes them to stop ignoring me! [note I don't do this to people I respect who are genuinely busy and need a few extra minutes. I only do it to people who are most definitely NOT my superiors but still trying to behave as if they are by doing this ignoring thing and only if they do it repeatedly]

 

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