Post Academic

Business Dinners Gone Awry

Posted in Absurdities by Caroline Roberts on February 7, 2011
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionOkay, Bardiac posted on a candidate dinner that involved diaper talk a while ago, but since I’ve been through some Hamster-world business dinners lately, and I felt the need to respond now. When I read the tale, the Hamster inside me spun furiously on its tiny wheel.

The profs, with the exception of Bardiac, who must have impeccable manners, spent all their time talking about their kids. I started imagining what the poor candidate was thinking:

Kids. Kids. Okay. I can swing this topic. What do I tell them about my kid situation? Should I tell them about my kid situation? My advisor never warned me about this. Are they trying to get me to reveal my kid status? Can this be used against me in a court of law?

Wait. This is diaper stuff. And nanny stuff. Nannies? These people can afford nannies? And they advertised that starting salary? I want to go on strike, and I don’t even have the job yet.

Oh, dear. This is intimate stuff. They aren’t making eye contact. Do they even want me to talk? Are they comparing Pampers to Huggies? Do they know I’m here? Have they already decided on a candidate? PANIC! No, no, don’t panic. Am I just a free meal to these people? Are they rubbing it in by talking about their kids’ poop habits?

Ahhh … the polite one just asked me about pedagogy. But … diapers! Poop! Exclusion!

I wonder if I should order another drink.

Okay, maybe the candidate wasn’t thinking all that, but those dining with the candidate should try empathy sometime.

I’m not an academic, so I’ve never been a part of a candidate dinner, but my loved ones have gone through the ritual. I am not the type to turn down a free meal, but I already don’t like the concept because it automatically blurs the line between personal and professional way too early in the game. Shouldn’t coworkers dine together after someone’s been hired, not before? It’s not as if professors are being hired to sell something to bigwigs and their table manners need to be vetted.

More after the jump! Image of Bakersfield Restaurant by Renjishino from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.