Friday, September 16, 2005

Beer Bash.

Our lab was hosting an interdepartmental party yesterday. That required food, drinks and music. Prof. Bigshot established clearly who would get what for the event. The party was at 5:30 pm. I checked my watch. It was 4:30. No one had gone to get food or drinks. In walks Prof. Bigshot:

PB (angrily): Vavoom, what are you doing? Why aren't you getting things together for the party?
V: B was responsible for getting the drinks. K is responsible for the food. J is responsible for the music. I would assume they're handling it.
PB (angrily): They said you're handling all of it. We have a party in one hour and you've done absolutely nothing!
V: That's complete bullshit. Where are B, K, J?

I proceeded to round up B, K, J and Prof. Bigshot.

V: Bigshot says you guys claimed I was going to get everything for the party. When did I say that? Never. I never said that.
B: Well, I don't want to get the beer. It's raining outside and it'll be too heavy to carry.
K: I'm busy with J right now, so I can't get the food.
V: B, go get food. I'll get the beer.
PB (angrily): Hurry up and get it, Vavoom. We need 7 cases.

I ran to a local market and picked up 8 cases of beer. It was pouring rain. I've never stolen a shopping cart before, but there's a first time for everything. I returned to the lab, soaked and beer laden. A quick check of the watch shows 5:15 PM. I'm on time. I set the beer in ice tubs and proceeded back to my desk.

A postdoc in the lab, D, approached me. "Hey, I just want you to know I appreciate you getting the beer. I wasn't here when you left, otherwise I'd have helped." An aside about D -- he's flamingly gay and extraordinarily effeminate. Once again, in walks Prof. Bigshot:

PB (angrily): Vavoom, you didn't get enough beer. Jesus Fucking Christ! I asked you to get 7 cases... how much is out there?
V: 8 cases.
PB (angrily): That's unacceptable! Clearly you have no sense of how much beer we needed. You were at the store. You should have estimated that we needed more.

I stared at Bigshot, water still dripping off of me. Suddenly, I heard D say at his desk, "GOD FUCKING DAMN IT!!!" He quickly came out from his cubicle:

D (very effeminate (ve), very angry (va)): Bigshot, what the fuck is your problem? Vavoom is pinch hitting for your lazy graduate students... I mean, look at the poor guy. He's soaked... he slogged 8 cases of beer through the rain and this is how you thank him? The appropriate response is 'Thank You.' This is why you're such a fucking pain in the ass to work with!
PB: Look I don't like being talked to like that...
D (ve, va): Well now you know how Vavoom feels! God, sometimes you are such an asshole! You've done this to all of us and that's why our group is so fucked up. It's because of you and your shitty management style!

Remember when Hulk Hogan faced off against Andre The Giant in Wrestlemania? Yeah, this was better. They went back and forth for about 10 minutes. D stuck to his guns. He kept calling Bigshot words like, "piece of shit" and "asshole." Finally, Bigshot broke down, "Vavoom, you did good. I'm sorry." Suddenly, I wasn't the one that was all wet.

The party went well. I met heaps of people. Most importantly, I've found a valuable friend and ally in D.


Anonymous NMLANLDFPD said...

But you have an ally in the guy that the boss is going to hate.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Stand up for what you believe is right, even if you are standing alone.

I believe this, you believe it, obviously your new ally believes it too. That's awesome that he went to bat for you!

9:42 AM  
Blogger techymike said...

Wow...Karma, anyone? First, V goes to bat for the technician last week, and he is repayed by D standing up for him against Bigshot. I'm a total believer in "what goes around, comes around" The assholes in that group will get theirs sooner or later.

I'm glad that he did this for you V. Honestly if it were me, I probably wouldn't have lasted at the job this long if I had to put up with all that bullshit. I envy your strength!


10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much beer was left over?

I bet you are changing the dynamic in the group. This guy needs to be stood up to a lot.


1:33 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

Go D! Now that is how you manage up.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Its nice to know that after all the standing up for people you do someone is willing to stand up for you every once in awhile.

Go D!

4:42 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I'm impressed with your new ally. I'm starting to think that you aren't as isolated in the office anymore. Not so much with the boss. He asks you to get 7 and you bring 8 yet he blames you for not getting enough? I'm starting to think that estimating isn't his forte'. You think that he's only overseeing lab experiments and not doing social experiments on the side.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Estimation is a hard concept to understand, just ask my 4th graders. Anyway, I am glad to see that after all the standing up you do for others it finally comes back to you :)

10:16 PM  
Blogger dreadcow said...

I just woulda stopped doing anything. Right then and there.

One of the things I can't do in the military that I will make sure I do in civilian world: deal with as little bullying and bullshit as possible.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Fancypants U. clearly needs some management development courses as well as professional etiquette reminders.

Glad you found a good friend. Hopefully, you guys can start to change the place for the better.

3:57 PM  
Blogger LoraLoo said...

You are making quite an impression there at Fancypants. Glad you found an ally... someone who seems to have guts like you.

9:23 AM  
Blogger GSR said...

Fancy Pants U has some serious issues to work out. Has your department considered bringing in a staff psychologist, to help eveyone through their anger management, pathological jealousy and other troubling (yet quite petty) problems?

At what point do you start beating he crap out of these whiney, stuck up, holier than though sh** heads?

10:06 PM  
Blogger thc said...

Geez. Are people with so much education really so stupid? I'm very disappointed with your advisor. Is she really so ignorant, arrogant, etc.?

11:19 PM  
Blogger dusty said...

GOD I LOVE THIS ONE!!!! its so excellent Vavoom..i am glad that D ripped the asshole to shreds..what a sweet guy..:)

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should have been the one to cuss out your advisor. I don't know how much this might screw you, but


Your blog reads like a parody of how bad grad school could be. I think that your prof has some sort of passive aggressive personality disorder and that you are perhaps a little too meek and wishy-washy to deal with it. This is a good recipe for a mental breakdown. No research is worth that.

2:36 AM  

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