Thursday, June 26, 2008

Inadvertently Networked

There's this professor, let's call him C, on the next floor down. He was a co-teacher when I was... er, strongly encouraged... to TA for my advisor . Advisor and C always asked me to read the quizzes and tests that year, me being so conveniently located and all.

Then I wasn't TAing the class any more. And my advisor still brought me tests and quizzes to read. And so did C. For five years. Including three finals from C.

Now, the advisor pays me, I'm right there. That made sense. But I was never sure about C. There were seven TAs; surely one of them was in the building? You know, someone actually working for him? Or one of his students? But no. Was he making nice for the sake of my boss, who is also his boss? Was I just nearby? Easily exploitable? All the same, I figured that I couldn't think of a nice way to say no and maybe it would do me good in the future. So I read all the damn tests.

Yesterday morning I was going up in the elevator with C. 'So what are you going to do with that PhD?' he asked.

'I have no idea,' I said.

'Well,' he said, 'I'm about to become editor of Medium-Sized Journal, and there's always a staff person who keeps everything rolling. Is that the kind of thing you're interested in? There's someone doing it now, but it's part of Evil Empire Press and is often a stepping stone, so it turns over a lot.'

Blink. Blink.

I explained that yes, I was very much interested in that kind of thing, but I was moving to Cold Utopia in two months. Also that I had been EIC for a journal ('Wow!' he said. 'What a feather in your cap for this kind of thing!') and so did have some experience. So maybe I should send him my resume and we'd keep in touch.

Now, probably nothing will come of it. I'm moving. They have staff. But it can't hurt. If I really wanted a job with Evil Empire, I bet C would help me find one. And who knows, maybe he'll hear about something good. The motto here should be "Nepotism: A Snooty U Specialty Since A Really Long Time Ago."

I guess that's why I proofed all those damn tests.