Playing nice
0 comment Wednesday, May 7, 2014 |
OK, there are some nice things about where I work now. People are nice (with a few exceptions). I like that (even though I'm not always very nice, but we'll get to that in a moment). It's not that people weren't nice at grad institution. Nobody was mean. We were just all perfunctory. I liked that too. I'm doing my job, I treat you with the respect and courtesy you deserve as my colleague and a human being, and we go about our day with minimal fuss.Postdoc U is different. I was greeted in every office I visited my first day (parking services, payroll, department, benefits) with a sincere "Oh! Are you a new employee? Welcome to Postdoc U! We're so glad you're here!" Which sounds sort of creepy and cultish in retrospect but the sincerity sort of obscured that for me at the time. And the fact that people continue to be nice. Which is nice.Except when they start policing the nice. See, I'm perfunctory rather than nice. I am courteous (no, really, I am!) and respectful so long as other people behave that way towards me. I also maintain a keen separation between my personal and private life while I'm at work, and I compartmentalize critique of my science v. critique of my person pretty well.So it kind of blows me away when people get all offended and shit when someone (OK, me) points out a flaw in their science. This service is often, but not always, solicited. They ask for my help, and I point out where things are probably going wrong and how they can fix it. I'm good at that. This is what they purportedly wanted, and I delivered. So what's with getting all butt-hurt about it?I also give pretty candid feedback (again, usually solicited). When someone says, "what if I try this instead (of doing what you suggested in your infinite wisdom AA)?" and I say, "If you do that, it will look like shit." I'm not being mean. I'm stating a fact. A fact that (if they heed it) will save them a lot of time and shitty-looking data. I think that saving them that trouble is nice. After all, I could encourage them to do it wrong and then snicker behind their backs when it turns out looking like shit. But that wouldn't be very nice.Nonetheless, people here at Postdoc U tend to be a little taken aback when I open my mouth. I don't really get it. I'm pretty genuine - it's easy to know that I'm being sincere and I rarely express negative opinions of people aloud. The only time I've given anybody the what-for is when there's a lot of carrying on and slinging of racist, sexist, homophobic garbage in and around my workspace. I don't tolerate that crap, and I say so. I can't change anybody's mind about it, but they can keep a lid on it at work. I'm a fucking professional and I'm not in on the jokes. It's not nice. So the nice-policing goes both ways, I guess.