Look what I got!
And it only took a year and a half...
- The sign serves a very important purpose that has
nothinglittle to do with massaging my ego. I sit at an open-plan desk right outside my supervisor's office, in the exact place where his former secretary (who has never been replaced) used to sit. Combined with the fact that my boss was away for my first week on the job and so was unable to introduce me properly, a lot of people assumed that I was his new secretary. This assumption has been very difficult to reverse. Even now, his many collaborators from other departments often drop by to ask me to schedule meetings and do other secretarial tasks. (And on the frequent occasions when there is no-one else around, I usually end up doing them, because otherwise they won't get done). Even when I am able to refer the person to a colleague, the constant interruptions really break into my day. I've mentioned the problem several times, and things have got gradually better as a result. But when it came up again during a recent performance review with the department's admin manager, she suggested that we order the sign. I spent ten minutes or so on Friday deciding on the best position for it, and it's now directly in the sight-line of anyone who makes it past the filing cabinets that we moved in front of my desk to give me more privacy.
- The environment in my industry job was quite rigid in some ways, one being an outright ban on wearing jeans (in our department at least, the lab people were allowed). I maintained this dress code in my new job for, oh, maybe a couple of weeks, before tentatively wearing jeans one Friday. No-one commented (I doubt that anyone even noticed), so I started to wear them more often. I now wear jeans two or three times a week. It's great. I love how academia recognises that what you wear bears no relation to how well you do your job. I've also noticed a relationship to the first bullet; when I wear nice trousers or a skirt, I get treated more like a secretary, and when I wear jeans, I get treated more like a scientist.
- Other things that academia recognises to be unrelated to job performance: turning up after 9 am, and listening to music while working. I no longer have to dash back early from the gym to avoid the disapproving 9:02 comments. And the first time my boss saw me listening to my iPod at work, as I yanked the buds out of my ears and apologised profusely, he said "why would I mind if you listen to your iPod?"
- My last job really did mess with my psyche. Prior to the aforementioned performance review, I had filled in my form in industry-sanctioned levels of detail, mentioning every single mistake I'd made and how I'd dealt with them, and ticking off the "I have met this standard most of the time" boxes rather than the "all of the time" options. The admin manager thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen, and suggested severe edits. The second version was almost unrecognisable, and much more flattering.
- The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hoooray! It's warm (20C, five days after it snowed - April is weird), people are smiling more, and a complete stranger even started a conversation with me in a coffee shop yesterday. This never happens in Vancouver and I think it's about time that changed (although this girl was actually a bit over-friendly, even by non-Vancouver standards, almost to the point of weirdness). Yes, this is work-related; what other reason could there possibly be for my boss to use a smiley face emoticon in an email yesterday?