Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Crying in the Dean's Office

Because I just can't help myself from posting this...

The Dean requested to meet with me individually to discuss the proposed plan to eliminate my department. It did not go well for me, and I did not handle it well either.

The Dean was trying to show me the advantages of moving me over to some other department (where there are no women and they hate my discipline). I started crying. The Dean kept on talking. I finally said that I had to go because I was too emotional and not ready to have that discussion yet. I said that we could pick it up some other time (between sniffles). The Dean said something snarky. I left crying. I hate that I can't control my emotions when it is most important. I feel as if I have failed all women in science.

22 comments:

Genomic Repairman said...

Hey don't feel bad about showing emotion, you aren't a robot and it is kind of a fucked up situation. I don't know if I would have handled the situation much better (I don't cry but I would have made an ass of myself).

Kate said...

What the fuck is that Dean's problem? Is there one other administrator or senior faculty member that you think would be sympathetic that you can bring into the room next time? I can't believe s/he said something snarky when you were in tears.

For what it's worth, I cry at the drop of a hat.

And there is absolutely no way in hell you have failed women in science.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

As someone who cries -- ((((hug)))

I'm sorry this meeting didn't go well for you.

On the other hand -- the department the dean wants you to join hasn't worked with you yet-- so, they don't know what they're missing.

JaneB said...

It's OK to be human. Keep reminding yourself of that. The whole situation sounds terribly difficult.

You haven't let me down, and I'm a woman in science. The more of us who behave like the passionate, committed, FEMALE persons we are, the more people like Dean Snarky will just have to get used to dealing with difference, and non-stereotypically-alpha-male human responses. Just because he'd be more comfortable if you swore and stamped...

MommyProf said...

I'm so sorry for you, for everything. I would cry, too.

Anonymous said...

You are not letting others down. I too have been known to cry in the Dean's office. I went to inform him how angry I was about unfair treatment regarding a space issue. I meant to rational and calm. Instead, I dissolved into tears half-way through the conversation. At least he understood I was passionate about the situation and amazingly enough, the situation was resolved that same day. NEVER apologize for your emotions.

Anonymous said...

Oh, goodness. God bless you! As a woman in science, I say unequivocally, you have failed no one! People have a range of emotions, and crying can be for joy, sadness, or intense emotion of any kind. Crying is a natural response by most women to intense stress. The fact that your Dean is not sympathetic to your plight does not reflect badly on anyone but him/her. I have been following your postings closely to see what is going on since my Department too was disbanded and folded into a Math/computer science department. I'd like to give you my email so we can converse, if you wish, but I don't want to do it online. Do you have a Janus prof email?

Nathan L said...

Infuriating that the dean was not more supportive.

gillyweed said...

Awe, geeze. I have this problem at times too, especially if I am stressed and/or feel particularly strongly about something. My tear ducts take it upon themselves to express any extreme emotion I feel, no matter how seemingly inappropriate the time or place. You have my sympathies (for this and the current departmental turmoil!) I think you need to shake this off and move forward, nothing will be gained by dwelling. You have not ruined the reputation of every female scientist out there, I promise. Chin up, face forward!

I have to say, I'm very sorry your Dean attempted to just ignore your obvious upset and just kept on marching through his/her schpeel without asking if you needed a moment to compose yourself. This is clearly a stressful situation, I would have hoped someone his/her position would have been a bit more... human? Although maybe robot deans would be cheaper...

Janus Professor said...

janusprofessor@gmail.com

PUI prof said...

Shake it off. You have failed no one. You are probably the third one that day. :)
I have cried in my Dean's office, too (after I got arrested... funny story, not for here...).

ScienceGirl said...

I am sure I would be crying too. I hope some silver lining will appear for you soon - hugs!

Anonymous said...

No way did you fail women in science (says another fsp)! It is a horrible situation and you showed a fully human response. The dean is less than that if s/he cannot recognize that.

NJS said...

Sorry the dean acted like a jerk. You definitely have not let down women in science by being human. The more academia has to contend with whole people rather than automatons, the healthier academia will become for everyone involved.

Katie said...

The only person in this situation who has failed women in science is that moronic dean. Hang in there, you can do this. Find a more understanding dean, and don't let them push you into a department that doesn't deserve you.

Lisa C. said...

you have failed no one. some (most?) women are emotional, when I am tired I cry at the drop of a hat; its just how it goes. Dean Snarky clearly deals with emotions in a much different way, feeling the need to make others feel worse. real helpful, Dean, sure glad you're in that position...

Girlpostdoc said...

I agree with Katie. The only person that has failed is the Dean. Snarky remarks are unwarranted.

Thank you for posting during such a difficult professional and personal time. It takes great courage to be so honest about such things.

It's quite impressive that you were able to be emotionally honest in front of the Dean. It is obvious that this honesty made him uncomfortable. But these types of decisions have a real impact on people. You had the courage to show that impact.

I don't know if this would help but in really tough emotional times, I've learned to just listen and focus on my breath. I find that this way I can calm myself down.

stepwise girl said...

Gee, sorry to hear about all the shit happening!

You did not fail women in science!

Best of luck.

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Ms.PhD said...

don't feel bad. we've all been there. the Dean sounds like a jerk.

I hope your situation improves. I'm afraid your story is more typical than you think. I have a friend whose department is being dissolved, and she is getting screwed in the process. In her case, she should move to another school, but her husband likes his job so they won't leave.

I think we women are conditioned to have a bit of a martyr complex. Don't suffer in silence.

female Science Professor said...

I agree with all the people who wrote that you have definitely not failed women in science. We don't have to be emotionless in the face of extreme stress to succeed. Maybe you could send an e-mail to the Dean to let him/her know your thoughts so that the conversation continues in way that is better for you.

Anonymous said...

This is why we need diversity in science, and about gatekeeping. When men get really stressed, a typical reaction is anger. When women get passionate about something, many women cry. Being unable to cope with this response effectively marginalises a very large percentage of the population, and keeps science for those who present with a response that is 'comfortable' for those in charge. This is exactly why we need diversity, and why we need people in science who are not boxed in to their own way of responding and doing things.