30 August, 2006

Two degrees of under-valuation

This week has not been a good one for a postdoc working in my lab, who has now managed to break two pieces of our equipment on consecutive days. This guy is from the 'be absurdly deferential to your superiors, trample on the dignity of your inferiors' school of academia, so both times I have been treated to barely civil demands to drop whatever it is I'm doing and get on with fixing them for him. No apologies were offered for his clumsiness, of course, which have sadly (for him) caused damage beyond my ability to repair.

I'm bristling somewhat at his brusqueness, but part of the problem is my stupid employment situation; when you're employed as a technician (even one who just happens to spend much of his time lecturing, marking, and teaching on field trips) it should hardly come as a surprise when I'm treated like one (not that such treatment is justified in any circumstances, but this person certainly wouldn't have treated me in that way if I was academic staff). However, this sort of thing actually happens so rarely that I was more than a little annoyed. I'm lucky in that most people around here react to what I do rather than my job title. They generally think that I should make more of a fuss about my current situation, but unfortunately until I get some leverage (a good job offer from somewhere else, for example) the Powers That Be merely brush off my complaints.

On a slightly more surreal note, my confused status in the building is further complicated by the fact that the computer system still thinks I'm a PhD student. This has suddenly become more than a mild annoyance (mainly because I get all the bureau-spam for the post-grads in addition to the technical and academic stuff) with the rebuilding of the departmental webpages. We're all getting a personal page, and on the draft version I'm currently listed under PhD students rather than staff. What's amusing is that my title is 'Dr.' Clearly I'm a glutton for punishment.

1 comment:

Lab Lemming said...

Never take shit from postdocs. They aren't worth it. Tell Dr. Butterfingers (I encourage you to call him that- both to his face and his advisor) that his entire purpose at the university is to produce maximum publications for minimal cost, and that turfing expensive equipment impedes both sides of that equation. And while you're at it, tell all the students in your lab that he is the go-to guy to learn about that particular apparatus. Behind his back, of course.