vices versa

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:36 pm
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Depression is a perfectly rational response to current events.

the mask slips.

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:07 pm
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The past couple of weeks have been filled with interviews for the two remaining candidates. Phone interviews, then in-person interviews, then video calls with the journal editor. I've tried not to talk work stuff here because it's not terribly interesting, but now I want to vent.

I think that I've mentioned already that both candidates could do the basic job. There are some important differences, though. Candidate #1's main strength is that she's very enthusiastic. She has no experience in writing, editing, or publishing and no experience in the journal subject. Candidate #2 has a master's degree in engineering plus a Ph.D. in science and society (her dissertation was about low-cost preventable blindness technologies, chiefly in India). She is currently guest editing a special issue of a sociology journal, so she understands academic publishing and has done most of the steps (soliciting, writing, peer review).

Each candidate interviewed with three people besides me when they came to the office. Three of four thought candidate #2 was better, above and beyond having more credentials and experience. The fourth person thought they were equally suitable.

The journal editor has favored candidate #1 since the resume stage, but I wasn't prepared for how different he was with each candidate. With #1, he was friendly and forthcoming about the journal and his hopes for this new position. He gently declined all of her ideas but told me that she has the "spark" he thinks is necessary for the job. With #2, he was aggressive and confrontational from the beginning. He didn't talk about the journal or the job but instead asked her "what do you think that you bring to this position?" She mentioned that she knows some people working in a subfield, and he asked her to name some of the top people in that field. She declined and said she'd ask one of the people she knows. In short, he bullied her, which made her more nervous and unsure than she'd been with us in the office.

The journal editor decided that candidate #2 was "lying" about her expertise and has said that he can't work with her. I argued with him, pointing out she's better qualified and has more experience, but he said it would be a mistake to hire her. He actually got angry at me. I've always known that he has the capacity to be a bully, but he has always hidden it behind a mask of patriarchal benevolence. But in that brief instance, the mask slipped, and his ugliness was in full view.

Not only is candidate #2 more qualified, she's also part of an underrepresented group in science (and, just as a woman, in engineering). Hiring candidate #1 on the basis of "spark" despite her lack of hard credentials, especially over a very strong minority candidate, seems to me to be begging to be sued for discrimination. Yet that's what my boss is currently contemplating. And, because I am a nice person and not an asshole, I've said that I can work with either candidate (although of course candidate #1 is going to need *a lot* more training).

So in all likelihood the bully will get his way, and my organization will be (legitimately) vulnerable to an accusation of racism. A stellar turnout, all around.

My shrink is not happy about this, but I'm going to say something to the journal editor about how he was unfair to candidate #2. It won't be anything big and obnoxious; in fact, it'll be something that can have multiple meanings, like "I saw how you treated candidate 2, and I won't forget it." He'll probably say, "good, that's how you should deal with people like that." In other words, saying something to him won't do anything to him, but calling out a bully will make me feel a whole lot better.


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October 2012

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