Saturday, September 24, 2011

Meeting the Big Wigs

I want to post things, really I do. I just never seem to be in front of a computer when I have things to say, and when I am in front of a computer, I have a million other things to do.

Anyway, here's what's up. A fairly well known, well established professor working in my research area is visiting our department next week. They would probably be a good candidate to write a letter for my tenure package. I'm having lunch with them. Here's what I'm racking my brain about...what do I talk with them about? Do I tell them about all the cool stuff I'm working on and planning to do? They have a big, well-funded lab. What are the odds that they will steal my stuff? Or worse, what if they think my ideas are crap? Can I ask them for advice or will this look bad? Should I ask them about their research? Should I keep it casual and not talk about research unless they bring it up?

I'm growing paranoid that everyone is judging me and my work. My department will vote on me getting tenure. I feel like I have to choose my discussions very carefully, not to rub anyone the wrong way. Our college is small and faculty in other departments will have a say in my promotion as well. Can things be going too well? Will tenured faculty that are having trouble recruiting or getting funding hold a grudge? I'm meeting other people in my field ahead of me at conferences. Can I tell them about problems or frustrations? Maybe they will be writing letters. It's driving me a little crazy.


  1. (1) Calm the fucke down and try to enjoy the process, or you're gonna give yourself a fucken heart attack and/or an ulcer.

    (2) When you are meeting with people in your field and at your institution, you should always be using these as opportunities to sell yourself and your work. However, if you do this like a smarmy mattress salesman talking about how magnificent a fucken mattress is, you'll turn people off. Rather, the idea is to simply allow your own enthusiasm and excitement about your work to come through conversationally with others.

  2. Yeah, everything went fine. Next question, should I ever collaborate with this person? Pro: money is money. Con: people might not give me credit for pulling in the money. They may question what my contribution was.