The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hypothetical problem

So, here's my hypothetical problem. Let's just say that this female researcher named--I don't know--Stusan was co-teaching a course. Let's just say that Stusan met with her co-teacher before the course started, and they discussed the numerous things that needed to be done before the course started. A list was created and tasks assigned. However, the co-teacher completely failed to any of the things on his list, causing Stusan, who was lecturing first, to have to hastily complete the entire list herself.
One task was to figure out what video tapes were to be used, check them out from the library, find a functioning VCR, and preview the tapes. Stusan eventually found the correct tapes, and it took her two trips to carry them all home from the library. Stusan and her extraordinarily helpful labmate tested three lab VCRs and 5 heavy monitors in all possible combinations with multiple connector cables but to no avail. Finally, the helpful labmate had her boyfriend who works in a pawnshop buy a used VCR for the lab. Thus Stusan was finally able to watch the videotapes and write her labs.

Yesterday, the co-teacher walks into Stusan's office, and rifles through all of the videotapes, selects one and starts to leave her office before he observes that, indeed, Stusan is IN the office. He offers a few words of greetings, happily discovers the conveniently located VCR and monitor, and settles in to watch the tape.

So, Stusan is a little pissed off. Although the lazy co-worker has been informed that Stusan is pissed off at him for his laziness, he has no idea what kind of effort went into the tasks that he neglected to do, and is enjoying the spoils of Stusan's hard work.
Here is my question for you, given that Stusan is attempting to maintain a professional and ladylike reputation, and also does not want the students to suffer: what should Stusan do?


Kim! said...

Here's my ideal solution: First off, let this one particular instance go... but at every opportunity to divide the workload in the future, give him more to do (more grading, etc), and more and more. If he fails to do it, tell the class that the reason it didn't get done is because the co-teacher failed to do it even though you divvied up the work. Say it with a friendly attitude, and matter-of-factly, just so you don't get blamed for it. And say it only once and drop it. Let the co-teacher know you aren't taking credit (or discredit) for the work he failed to do. Then, at any future junction, unless he improves, refuse to work with him, and tell people why. Don't keep it a secret from him or anyone else. He knows why you are pissed. His laziness in such a case is beyond annoying and is downright inconsiderate and irresponsible. In a working environment, you have to be a team!! There's no 'I' in team! hee hee hee Well, that's what I would ideally do. But very likely, I'd probably just get pissed and whine about it a lot.

Best of luck, and hopefully you will find a solution that works for you.

Jessica and Adam said...

Hmmmmmm, I can hate him for you, does that help? I mean for Stusan...

Kim! said...

Yeah, maybe my corporate revenge mode is idealistic and maybe you think it is weird. Just don't let him do it again, that bastard. Sometimes my my idealism is bigger than my ability to self-edit!

xo Whatever you do, I'm rooting for your equality!

Susan said...

Hi guys,

Thanks for the advice and support. This dude is ruining my work groove, so I am trying to finish all collaborative efforts with him as fast as I can and plan to never do any in the future. I think that he is totally playing me: he knows that I feel an obligation to the students so he is intentionally lazy because he knows that I will pick up the slack.
Similarly for our collaborative research, he has probably figured out that at this point, he will not be first author on any of our papers. Because he contributed to the papers, he must be included as a co-author. Thus even though we were supposed to be collaborating, he doesn't have to do any more work to get publications. So I have been stuck with 50-60 hours of data processing which I had not anticipated doing alone.
I have let our PI know what kind of issues that I have been having in as even-handed a way as possible. My main problem now is that the extra workload is preventing me from doing the preliminary research that I need to apply for NSF funding.