Monday, December 13, 2010

Does a disabled person have a shortened career?

Last week I heard a rumor about goings-on during my hiring at Big State U. The rumor goes like this:

I have a colleague at Big State U in my field, but not in my department. Let's call him Dr.M. When I was on the fence about switching universities last spring, I dined with him at a conference. He asked why I was wanting to move. I responded that I had a two-body problem and RA, so I needed to simplify my life.

Recently, I heard a rumor that during my hiring process Dr. M. had made inappropriate comments to members of my present department. He allegedly remarked that I shouldn't be hired because I have RA -therefore, my career would be shortened.

Upon hearing the rumor, I immediately sought out the head of the committee that hired me. The head told me that yes, Dr. M had told everyone that I had RA. But no, he did not remark on a shortened a career, nor did he say anything similarly inappropriate. The committee head went through all his emails and documents from Dr. M on the topic, and everything came out clean.

Dr. M is the same person who said inappropriate things you can read about here.

Rumors are rumors and can get out of hand. But in no way do I think my career would be shortened. To have twisted the rumor that direction, someone must have thought that way... I don't need to waste my time identifying the person. I just plug away and let my success speak for itself.


yellowfish said...

Wow... that is terrible (about what he said to the committee, not that I think you have a shortened career). This is one of the reasons I tell almost no one I know only professionally about having RA, I'm worried about this kind of thing happening. Before I started that policy, back when I was a research assistant and was newly diagnosed, I had one of my bosses tell me (in a very well meaning way) that I shouldn't go into academic science because I wouldn't be able to withstand the stress of grant submission- that made me realize I don't want anyone making decisions about what I can and can't do because they think they understand my RA better than I do. I do have limitations, but I want to be the one to make those calls...

Jenny F. Scientist, PhD said...

Well, I'm sure you didn't need any more reasons to dislike the jerk. Ah, well.