Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On Being Important

One of the interesting aspects experiencing socioeconomic displacement is that you are more sensitive to the rules that the important people observe. Here are some:

1. Grading deadlines are not critical. The students can wait when you are important.
2. Distribute your resume to your class if you cannot come. The message is clear. When you have time you will drop by.
3. Have an affair with a secretary. What's the big deal when you are a big deal?
4. Secretary does not have your work done on time although it was given to him at 3 and it was not due until 2? Call the dean and have him fired. After all you are a "professor" and the secretaries are so. . . well, inept.
5. Limits on travel expenses apply to others.
6.Need to take off three weeks in the middle of the semester to teach a course in England? By all means. Everyone understands when you are important.
7. No time to write a new exam? Just use last year's. Make sure it is machine graded.
8. Students need to see you? Have them talk to "your secretary" (who you share with ten others) and make an appointment someday in the distant future.
9. University rules on letterhead comformity? Forget it!
10. Office color not quite right? Demand that it be repainted. You need your color and you deserve it.
11. Teaching 30 students a year? That is way too many. Schedule an appointment with the dean and remind him or her of the demands on your time.
12. Didn't get your book order in by the deadline? What are deadlines when you are important?
13. Pontificate on the quality of the work you have not read. You are an authority on just about everything, right!!
14. Assure a visiting professor that he will get a permanent offer even though you have no way to know. Why not? You are a leader!

And it's only the third day of the semester. There are so many more ways to be important.

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