Well that's family friendly...NOT(11 Posts)
Small frustrations. Big Wig coming to visit our Dept - he's giving a talk which they've shoe-horned into calling part of our normal seminar series (badging it, but on a different day and time than normal). I'd really like a chance to talk with him. Contacted the person in the Dept email that it said to do so if you wanted to meet and got a reply that the host was trying to 'not tie up his schedule' and to see if I could catch him at the end of the seminar.
Just got an email to me and a few others saying Big Wig will be going to the pub in about half an hour (exactly the time I need to leave to pick DD up from nursery) and he is 'very busy' tomorrow.
Oh well, guess little chance for me to meet with him now And even if I didn't have to get DD, I don't drink and always feel very awkward at pub gatherings (when people spend half their conversational energy towards me questioning my drinking habits).
I understand he's a big name and is just swinging by the Uni, but if it was going to be a whizz-in-and-out, they probably shouldn't have badged it with our seminar series and provided a contact to arrange meetings and such. I'll see if I can still catch him after the seminar, but this has just left a bad taste in my mouth. And I just wanted to whine somewhere.
I would complain to your Athena SWAN team about this.
This is exactly the sort of thing AS should be preventing. It is clearly excluding people to schedule networking sessions at a pub and at nursery pick up times.
It sounds like the BigWig is really up his own arse, though, who couldn't spare time for a quick coffee in the morning...sounds like they don't actually want to see individuals at all, and are happy for 5 min general adulation after the seminar. I'd say a quick hello then and not worry too much as he doesn't sound up for the kind of networking that might really benefit you.
More generally, we ask our speakers to set aside time to do a postgrad seminar/discussion of an hour and usually for coffee/meetings with any individual staff now, as it seems ridiculous for them to come, speak at us, and leave, and all our speakers lately seem to have really enjoyed the more interactive experience.
I'll hold off judgement on Big Wig until I actually meet him. I'd be willing to bet that this is not an invited visit on the seminar budget, but instead he was in the area and knew someone who said "hey, could you give a talk?" and then the seminar organisers said, "let's make it part of the series!" so that they can say BIg Wig was a speaker. The unusual time and day, plus the fact that someone mentioned he was 'stopping by', suggest this. Same person did say he gave great talks, so at least I have that to look forward to.
If it'd been presented as Big Wig is in the area for external examining/meeting in nearby town/etc, and will be giving a talk, and there might be a chance for a pub gathering or a quick word after his talk, I'd be less annoyed (and I could have arranged something for the pub trip with more than 30 minutes to prepare!). But instead it was billed as part of the seminar series, with contact for meetings like normal.
So got to chat with Big Wig afterall - he was pretty nice. As suspected, it's the organisers who didn't handle things well. He stayed here overnight as a stop-over on a visit up to his family, so was here last night and this morning. Provided that information, I would have less expected a typical 20-30 min slot with him! Left it that I will be emailing him (although perhaps in a bit as he's clearly on holiday!) and he's got some data to pass on to me. So successful.
Great news, always good to make contacts/start up possibilities. I find that you have to do a few of these to get one really good 'hit' in terms of finding that great collaborator, but it does pay off in the long run- and it's always fun to find people who find the same things interesting as you anyway!
Not exactly on topic, but I don't drink either and don't like meeting at the pub (where all group social socials tend to take place after 5.30pm!). How do you avoid pub socials/meetings?
There was a good deal of drinking in pubs at my last post. Much of the informal bonding took place, relationships established and maintained, teaching opportunities cropping up - and seized upon by enthusiastic, young men who hadn't children to go home too.
The way this all worked in conjunction with weekly pub visits pissed me off hugely. Despite years and years of lecturing and academic experience, it was always the drinking lads who were offered more contracts. Lads who readily engaged with evenings of football banter, the latest gaming techniques, etc. I'm retraining at the moment in a field where that doesn't seem to happen.
I don't drink, but I still go to the pub. In our case, it's more of a sedate drink for a couple of hours, men and women, and a good chance to catch up with my colleagues, as much as meet new ones.
Ultimately, if you can't get childcare cover whatsoever, there's never going to be much of a chance to socialise out of work. Same for conferences, if you can't go, you can't go. I go to about third/half such events, and get my husband/family to babysit, and don't worry about the rest. I have been known to choose ones where I know I'll be noticed if I'm not there (e.g. work party, speaker very relevant to my field) and leave some of the less relevant ones. I think you have to be strategic.
Other options are to set up reading groups in work time, so breakfast reading group, lunchtime one, network with other women (who are similarly constrained) over lunches. I 'do lunch' a lot. If you work from home a lot, all socializing/informal meeting is really problematic, which is why I still go into the office even when I could work from home, at least some days.
funny - we NEVER go to the pub. While i am on the AS team etc, and agree that it is deleterious when it is ALWAYS the place where people meet / greet / exchange favours, my colleagues [all with DC] and I craved the opportunity to have, for once, a relaxed work outing to the pub.
We now do this once a month. It has helped us all a lot [some may recall the toxic environment I work in, with quite a few single men fuckwits]. I guess it depends on the habits of the place, and its problems.
You are right to not make your mind up on BigWig - they may have their own set of circumstances.
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