Part of me knew after my initial kneejerk reaction to the news of my friend’s tenure denial was probably closer to what Dr. Crazy had to say in her comments on the last post than what I perceived was going on.

And after I calmed down, I figured there might have been some misrepresentation of ze’s work on hir part, which I don’t fault ze for–I tend to think I’m more productive than I actually am in my bubble until I see what others really are doing.

Though fair to say that some who knew better were shocked still.

And my kneejerk reaction to the message was not unnoticed by another person who did not necessarily say anything bad about my reaction but took my response to mean, in addition to another junior faculty member voicing concerns about the process, that we needed clarification on the matter. So I asked the higher up if I had shot myself in the foot already with my initial vocal support and then if I looked shady like I was back peddling in explaining that my WTF moment was a non-thinking emotional response and after I thought about it I figured that I just didn’t have all the information and why should I have that information and that everything the administrator said was pretty much exactly what I had expected to be told. And there were concerns about me because of the three newbies, I was the closest to hir–which I think they were trying to say and basically said–we really like you and we want someone like you to stay–here’s ze’s history and we like the fact that you seem to be friends with everyone, so here’s the deal. And I get it. After my initial response, I wasn’t running down the halls talking about it, lodging a protest. And I think what saved me was my follow up comment on the feed that rather than tear the halls down I just cried, which I think indicated that I was sad at losing my friend and not saying anything bad about the university. But the general feel was that it was a willy nilly budget thing and I think the administration was rightly concerned that we were concerned that what we were doing was wrong.

So I expressed, many times that my first reaction was a kneejerk “OMG” reaction and that after I sat and thought about it and was over what was shock and sadness that my friend was leaving that I realized that things probably weren’t as they seemed, and I think indicating that my response was an emotional one actually helped me in this case because it was read as “she’s concerned for her friend–look, she’s already made friends here!” rather than, “oh shit, we have to do some serious damage control now” because the conversation about this was not initiated with regards to me. And I was explicitly told that no one, absolutely no one was concerned about my response nor that my freaking out has or would affect me negatively. Because after I calmed down, I got it. At which point I expressed numerous times that I was indeed extremely happy here and that I had no intention of going anywhere else, and that I did, actually after my, let me express, emotional kneejerk response, figure, again, that there was more to it than the one side.

The person who was concerned the most about me, do you think I should go talk to said person? Or should I let it be? Should I tell said person that my response was a kneejerk reaction and that after I was over the shock that I knew it probably wasn’t what I thought and thank the person for initiating a conversation with the administrator? Or should I just let sleeping dogs lie? Because I do want to stay here, and there is a possibility that five years from now said person could be on a tenure committee?

I was told, too, though that even if I were a complete jackass but did what I was supposed to do and had the pubs I needed that I’d still be fine. Should I just take that as an indication that my “wtf? do they want a quart of blood and your first born” reaction was considered  just that a reaction and that no one cares unless I develop a pattern of jackassery?

I still have to put my plan in place though for what I need to/want to accomplish. If I can shake these headaches (stupid pollen) and lethargy (stupid lingering stomach virus and stupid pollen).


3 responses »

  1. I’ve always been one for talking to people just to clarify things, but I’ve recently discovered that a surprising number of colleagues prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.

    Very hard to answer since I don’t the personality of the person/people involved, nor the climate at your department. But I suspect that if you think about it really hard, your gut will tell you what to do…then again, that’s how I roll. Do you roll that way, too? 🙂

  2. Hey, sister. First, I’m glad that you’re feeling less freaked out about your own position. Second, my advice on talking to the person would be that you don’t *have* to say anything, but if it comes up, that’s cool. Or, if it’s going to bother you not to talk to the person, then by all means have a conversation! But I don’t think it’s “urgent” that you do so in order to save your reputation or something. It’s all good. I’m sure that the word is out about where you were coming from, and the whole thing is smoothed over. In truth, it’s always jacked up when somebody doesn’t get tenure in a department – whether the response that is generated is vocal and upset (your department) or whether it’s all weird and silent (what’s going on in my department right now). Basically, it takes some time for things to settle. Really, though, it will be alright.

  3. Thanks to both of you for your advice. At first my gut was like, “find prof now and explain yourself! Talk it out!” then I realized that it wasn’t my gut, but another knee jerk reaction, and I have decided to just let sleeping dogs lie, unless it comes up. So there it is. Nothing more seems to have come of it, so it’s all good for now I suppose.

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