Post Academic


A Post Academic’s Guide to the Office: Mingling, With or Without Liquor

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on November 4, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionThe “Post Academic’s Guide to the Office” series covers the secret rules of the Hamster World that no one ever told you. Most of these rules involve non-work activities, such as romance and food. The last installment covers the trickiest area of office etiquette–boozing.

Boozing in academia is normal, especially since the students are always around to party. Grad students often throw parties for each other, and the same is true for professors. The booze rules for Hamsters, however, are different, and shows like “Mad Men” might lead you to assume that office hamsters must drink to get through the day. A few tips as you wonder whether or not it’s okay to tipple:

Some companies have strict no-liquor policies … That may be related to how the boss feels about liquor. Do not assume that it is okay to have liquor at your office parties or drink on the company dime.

… while others don’t mind if you drink on the job. The three-martini lunch really does exist in a few places, but there’s a catch: You have to be able to work afterwards. No wetting yourself a la Freddy Rumsen. They really expect you to deliver, and being able to play “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” on your fly does not count. I’ve always felt that the three-martini lunch is an endurance test. In some cases, it might be fine if it’s Friday and you have a beer when you go out for lunch, but eat food with it so you’re still functional.

More after the jump! Image of a Long Island Iced Tea by rootology from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.
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A Post Academic’s Guide to the Office: The Kitchen

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on November 2, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionIn the last entry for “A Post Academic’s Guide to the Office,” I discussed what happens when you get too close to your coworkers. Today, I’ll tackle one of the easiest ways to alienate your peers–poor kitchen habits. Nothing pisses people off faster than messing with their food. In grad school, you were probably at home, and you made your own lunch. In the Hamster World, you’ll be sharing kitchen space, and these battles are territorial and dangerous.

Don’t eat anyone else’s lunch, ever. You’re working late at night. You’re starving and a pizza will take forever. Trust me: Be patient and order the pizza. Sure, you can sneak some salad dressing. You might even be able to sneak some mustard or cream cheese, but beware of bags that appear to contain a full meal. You’ll be sorry because the bag has probably been in the fridge since prehistoric times.

Put your name on your food. Writing your name on your food with a sticky note or a magic marker is a deterrent. It suggests that you’ll be watching if anyone dares think of eating your leftovers.

Don’t throw anyone else’s food out. Even if you know that tub of mac-and-cheese has been in the fridge for a month, don’t toss it. You will be surprised by what people are willing to eat. I’ve worked in dot-coms, and it never ceases to amaze. Some people do not believe in expiration dates. Either that, or they have stomach linings made of Kevlar.

More Hamster World kitchen tips after the jump! Restaurant, Mandeville, Louisiana. Old refrigerator. Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.
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A Post Academic’s Guide to the Office: Romance

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on November 1, 2010
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post academicThis week I’ll be providing tips to post academics who may be navigating a Hamster office for the first time. Some rituals will be new to you, and they haven’t been covered in Hamster books, nor are they as droll as the issues that arise on “The Office.”

We’ll start with a frequent Hamster World issue: the office romance. Arnold has noted before that academics tend to breed with academics. I met my own spouse while in grad school at UCI. Pairing up is seen as normal, or at least inevitable. Even a few professors start fishing in the grad student dating pool, though some are more successful than others.

If you are moving from academia to the Hamster World, you will soon discover that the Hamster Workplace is not–I repeat, not–a good place to find a date, no matter what TV shows tell you. Why?

People become less attractive when you spend 8 hours a day with them. The dude who eats the stinky lunch every day of the week? The woman who is always shrieking about her computer problems yet who refuses to learn Ctrl-Alt-Delete? The guy who keeps mooching all your office supplies? The woman who left a diaphragm in the wastebasket of the ladies’ bathroom? (true story) No thank you! Romance requires a little distance. If you work a Hamster gig with someone, you’ll feel like you’ve been married for 50 years, even if you’ve only worked together for a week.

More reasons to be careful with love in the workplace after the jump! Comic book cover image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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Transfer Your Skills: What to Wear in the Office World

Posted in Process Stories,Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on March 20, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionTo follow up on what to wear to grad school: Academia seems like a safe haven for those who don’t want to wear suits all day. But, if you leave grad school or the academy, don’t assume that your fashion choices are limited to ties for guys and pantyhose for women. These tips can help you figure out what to wear as you take tentative steps into the hamster world:

Consider the type of job you want. If you are shifting into finance or anything near the law profession, you will probably need to invest in some good suits. But, thanks to the rise of the dot-com world, office wear has become more casual. I’ve seen Hawaiian shirts. I’ve seen dudes wear the same shirt two days in a row (yes, I noticed). I’ve seen Birkenstocks. That said, the West Coast is more formal than the East Coast or the South.

Scope out the job first. Penelope Trunk, a sharp career blogger, once advised that people should stake out where they will interview. You don’t need to make like a private detective, but take a walk past the place. Aim to visit either in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening so you can see people coming and going.
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