Sunday, November 28, 2010

Douchebag Intrusion

One of the wonderful things about the holidays is meeting friends of friends of friends at holiday parties.

Unfortunately, the transitive property does not apply, so the people two layers of friends removed... might assume they are automatically your friends, too.

I seem to keep running into these business/salesguy types who, for whatever reason, are

a) surprised to meet a girl PhD scientist
b) hitting on me (despite the presence of Mr.PhD)
c) not remotely attractive or charming
d) trying to tell me that I need to "figure out what I want to be when I grow up"
e) think they're much older than me, when in fact they are not
f) might even go so far as to tell Mr.PhD how lucky he is

Part (d) by far annoys me most. I think it's mostly because I look young, and because of that, most normal people don't understand that 5 years PhD + 8 years postdoc = I'm already pretty much all "grown up".

And when they ask me about my career, I say well you know I had pretty much figured out what I wanted to do, and that hasn't necessarily changed. And I try to hint that it's a much longer conversation than I want to have at a party. And I attempt to change the subject and/or go talk to someone else ASAP.

I'm not sure how they think they're helping me by giving me these lectures, or why on earth they think I would be completely honest about something deeply personal with a perfectly drunk perfect stranger. Or if this is just an extended part of (b).

And here I'm trying to be polite because, you know, friends of friends or whatever. Otherwise I would just tell them to fuck off.

Mostly I try to laugh and shake it off, because it's happened to me enough times now that I'm familiar with the type who does this, and I don't take it personally because I'm pretty sure they do it to everyone, all the time.

Also, when we walk away and Mr.PhD simply says, "I hate that guy! He's the textbook definition of a douchebag!"

That always makes me laugh.

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At 9:48 AM, Blogger Tim said...

so what is it that you do exactly? or are you too afraid of having your privacy violated or something to tell. Im a MD at harvard btw, just so to stay ahead of you.

i think i am a pretty average guy, and i am never surprised to meet a girl phd scientist. In fact, most of my friends are phd scientists (girls and guys alike). So your sexist views to not resonate at all. Why are you discriminating against men all the time? All men are NOT douchebags. Ask your husband.

In stead of being annoyed by people hitting on you, you could also take it as a compliment..

Why are you offended that guys are not remotely attractive or charming. Thats not very nice to say: im sure some people would like them?

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Tim, I'm honored that your comment is first on this post. I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Bashir said...

I seem to keep running into these business/salesguy types.

There's your problem.

With regard to d) is it that they don't see academic jobs as "real" jobs? I've certainly run into a few like that.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Autistic Lurker said...

I think I'm having a bit of cognitive dissonance... here's a MD, from Harvard, who want to stay ahead of Ms.PhD but he's saying he's perfectly average (in which kind of world?).

Ms.PhD, that remind me of the yearly christmas party where I get laughed at, asked when I'll finish school and so on. Picture also that our family side have 4 peoples (me, my 2 bro and my mother) while the family in-law had over 25 members...

I ended up spending the new year party at a local brewpub with total strangers.

A.L. (who know how to respect womans).

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Bashir - How do you avoid them?? I feel like they're everywhere!

A.L. - I agree. And who knows, he could be lying about being at Harvard (or was that supposed to be funny?).

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Kea said...

Simple solution: don't go to parties. You'll never meet anyone interesting at a party.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Kea said...

Tim's at Harvard? Ah, that explains a lot. Many of the guys I know from Harvard are total douchebags.

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the nicer aspects of the business/salesguy types is that they aren't really sensitive to anything a whole lot more subtle than outright rudeness.

I personally like to have a lot of fun at their expense. Once watched a guy ahead of me in the buffet line at a company-wide dinner shovel an entire platter of shrimp in his gullet at once, ignoring the line of people patiently waiting behind him. When his mouth was completely full of shellfish, grease and cocktail sauce all over his slimy chin, I asked him, "Wow...Now, spit or swallow?"

Because he was a SalesDouche, he thought this was high humor and promptly laugh/choked, spraying bits of crustacean all over the remnants of the buffet. The VP of the division happened to be one of those in line. Several SalesDouches were instructed to take lessons in business etiquette thereafter, so it had a happy ending.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Enginerd said...

Ah, I hate that type of douchebag!
"Your life doesn't fit my template? You should try ! "

At 8:50 PM, Anonymous Pharm Sci Grad said...

Delurking to comment on this one, as Mr. Havard irked me.
First is that I totally know what you mean about A. For me, it's usually, "what do you do" and when my response is "I'm finishing up my PhD in Pharm Sci" there's this BIG AWKWARD silence. It's thrilling really. sigh.
Also, I'd like to give props to Mr.PhD for his ability to identify the douches. Wonderful. Keep him. :)
Plus, we all know how much men with bachelor's degrees or MBAs know about the world of academic science - they're smart too! Look at them! *rolls eyes*
Hang in there!

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Insomniac Lab Rat said...

My husband usually thinks it's funny when random friends of friends are hitting on me when we got out, as long as they don't get too creepy.

I try to just laugh it off too, but it gets tough when I would like to socialize with people I actually know, but this random guy is incessantly hitting on me, despite my best efforts to display my wedding rings and politely say I would like to go talk to a friend.

I don't usually meet very many people that think I need to figure out what I need to be when I grow up, but I do occasionally get the surprise at being a girl scientist.
Those people are lame, but I try to focus on the good times I have with my friends :)

At 4:58 AM, Anonymous Autistic Lurker said...

I don't think it's funny and it could indeed be a lie; I met an actual MD/PhD from Harvard for a research project and the guy was very professional and reserved and finally, such people tend to be insanely busy unlike the 1st poster but I think you already know that.


At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe if you want people to stop telling you what to do when you grow up, you should change the title of this from "young female scientist" to "middle-aged female scientist"

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Kea, I think you're about 50% right re: parties. I have met interesting people at parties, sometimes, but that's usually not why I go. I usually only go if I already know some interesting people who will be there. Whether I meet new ones or not is a coin toss.

Anon 5:52PM, LMFAO. That is a fantastic story!

A.L., yes I know people at Harvard and I agree on the *busy*.

Anon 5:52AM, Perhaps you missed the post where I explained why the blog is called YFS.
Or are you just trying to be a sarcastic PITA?

I really do need to make a list of FAQ-related posts and put it on the sidebar. Someday.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger CaT said...

my goodness.
in fact, all tim did was asking what exactly you do, msphd. and to show hes not afraid of remaining anonymous himself, tims telling hes at harvard.
he thus is showing interest in what exactly you are doing and where.
instead, you all are making more assumptions about him being at harvard must mean that he is... (read commenters above), or that otherwise it just might be a lie.
why would he lie?
and whats the thing with harvard anyways? its just a university, where people do research, among other things....
btw, im a postdoc and at harvard too. my second postdoc, even. as my first postdoc made me unhappy...

now, commenters, its up to you again to start making assumptions and all.

and jup, tim is my bf and i dont need your pity for that, im very happy with it (him, i mean, hahahaha)

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Kea said...

Yes, MsPhD, of course you are right about parties. Actually, the last party I went to was really cool, with lots of cool super smart people.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Tim said...

you know whats funny? you hurt me with that. i didnt think giving up my identity could be painful, but i guess it is when you do it to a bunch of imbeciles.

In case you think i feel superior, or worse, in case you think i am trying to achieve some sort of status:

1. In no way am I better than ANY other person ANYWHERE in the world.

2. i am an average, lazy person with no exceptional skill, like most. I am however not stupid and I am not a liar.

3. Please disregard my degrees and university in any dealings with or about me and please believe i have no education whatsoever whenever talking to me or thinking about me or reading my comments. i dont want to be regarded as a harvard MD and I made a mistake in letting you know this, obviously.

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Eight years as a post-doc ... That is mind boggling

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Anon, most of the people I know who got jobs were in their postdoc position for 9-10 years. I know at least one faculty member who took 9 years to get his PhD.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Kea said...

I am an average, lazy person with no exceptional skill ...

Um, yeah, that was obvious. Some of us, on the other hand, are truly remarkable.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger a physicist said...

Tim has some sort of problem. My reasoning: On Ms. PhD's October 12 post he raised a question. I gave a serious answer to the question. Tim subsequently posted a snarky comment about how Ms. PhD avoided answering the question; he didn't address what I wrote at all. My conclusion: he doesn't care about the questions he's raising, he's not trying to discuss, he's just being snarky.

He might argue, perhaps, that he doesn't care about MY answer, he really sincerely wants to know Ms. PhD's answer and doesn't care about the rest of us. In which case I think today's post about douchebags raises an interesting question: is this Tim's way of flirting with Ms. PhD?

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Isabel said...

"douche bag
a small syringe for douching the vagina, esp. as a contraceptive measure.
• informal a loathsome or contemptible person (used as a term of abuse)."

This explains why I *hate* the term douchebag. It's reminder of how *filthy and disgusting* womens' vaginas are.

Now "vagina" has become a common pejorative, equal to "pussy" or coward.

What's next around the corner I wonder?

At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously Tim is a douchebag, feeling the need to let everyone know he is at Harvard, as if that makes him special. His self depreciating remarks do not fool me, trying to act humble while at the same time asserting his status. Hey Tim, before you attack YFS you should try to remember you have no idea what it is like to be a female in academia, or for that matter in the world of today. It wasn't that long ago that women were considered second class citizens and well, if you were a women you might understand the constant insanity we encounter with sexist men. Even if you are not one of those guys, it does exist, and is more ubiquitous than you might realize. I am surprised none of your female PhD friends ever mentioned this to you. And BTW this is YFS's blog and she can say or do whatever she wants. Also, saying your name is tim and you're an MD at Harvard is not revealing your identity and by no means should be seen as an act of courage in my view. Why not add you last name then if you are so brave? Did I miss that post by chance?

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you might appreciate this.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Yes, please don't feed the troll.

Isabel - I agree, I don't like the origin of the word, but it's been said so much with the intention of the 2nd definition = "a contemptible person" that it has kind of lost all connection to its origin, at least for me.

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Thinkerbell said...

Tim can't help it he's at Harvard, if he just wanted to say "I work at X", than X=Harvard, in his case. A lot of the time people have an immediate reaction to a name like that. Used to be the same with my old workplace.

Other than that, a lot of snarky internet comments bantering would be resolved in a phone-call or face to face conversation: it's hard to read sarcasm/humor/joke/anyothermeaning in typed text. Let's take a deep breath and start over.

PS I don't know Tim. Nor am I at Harvard.

At 3:39 AM, Anonymous app said...

It's more than a little retarded when some random commenter says to MsPhD "I'm at X, now tell me where you're at and what you're doing. Or are you too afraid of having your privacy violated or something to tell". Who the fuck does he think he is that MsPhD should have to tell him anything? Fuck off you idiot. We already know she is (or was) a senior female postdoc in the biosciences, and that's all we need to know to see that she has a valid background for the things she writes about on this blog.

At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim do you wear your stethoscope and ID badge on the train? Harvard med is a psych ward for people who blow wads to the sound of their own voice reciting mneumonics and acronyms. Tim, you may have learned this one from your dad: NOGAFS (no one gives a fux son).

Ms.PhD, your blog is great. Tim, NOGAFS. Repeat it.

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: the post, I have gone thru similar situations as well... I was lucky to get a faculty appointment (none tenure-track) after finishing my PhD, however I still look like I could pass for an undergrad. I had the lovely experience of recently going to a party w/ my husband and one of his co-workers asked me what I did. I responded & he said "you are too young to be a professor."

ummm WTF??? Do you want to see my business card? it was incredibly awkward but unfortunately that kind of situation happens frequently. Part of me wants to ask do I look too young or too female?

when I started grad school I had all these happy notions that sexism was dead & gone (i should have noticed that my dept had 1 female faculty & thought it about then) but now I know it is alive & still thriving.

really enjoy your blof YFS

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous angry student said...

I hate phd's who think they are the best at everything. all of a sudden they think their opinion on everything is important.


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