Thursday, January 22, 2009

Even professors can be special, special snowflakes

Me: "Okay, just to recap: you want me to standardise headings, figures, tables and example numbers; rewrite part one so that it actually makes sense*; check all the references; and make the formatting of the rest of the manuscript consistent?"

Prof: "That's right. Technically we should contact the people whose figures and images we are using and get copyright permission, but I don't have enough money to pay you to do that. It's cool, anyway: the publisher I'm using doesn't check that sort of thing."

Me: *gulp* "It wouldn't be too hard to contact them..."

Prof: "No no. This publisher was sued last year and it was fine. He just turned off the lights and hid under his desk until the lawyers went away. No one will bother trying again."

Me: "Yes, but—"

Prof: "So, about the formatting."

Me: "Right. Do you have a copy of the publisher's stylesheet I can take?"

Prof: "I've got one. But I don't like it. I think those styles are ugly. So we're going to ignore it. Here's how I like things formatted: [long list of weird-ass personal preferences]."

Me: "Don't you think the publisher will just reformat it to their own stylesheet anyway? So maybe we should just—"

Prof: "God no! They are far too lazy for that."

Me [thinks: and too busy being served with copyright infringement notices] "And what about the references?"

Prof: "Oh, whatever style you like. And don't waste time doing things like making sure they all have the same capitalisation or all have full stops after the date or anything. No one really cares about all that."

All I can say is that I'm going to make sure I get my money BEFORE this gets sent to the publisher, and then I'm going to run far far away. Also, for once, I DON'T want my name in the acknowledgments.


* Okay, so I didn't phrase it like that. But that's totally what she's asking me to do.


Ianqui said...

What do you mean "even professors"? We're possibly the most special snowflakes of all.

quietandsmalladventures said...

wow. i agree, take the money and run!

Psych Post Doc said...

um.. wow, has he published before??

StyleyGeek said...

Oh yes, Psych Post Doc. Quite a lot, actually. And there was this great moment in our conversation where she said, "Hey, I heard on the grapevine that [important international linguistics committee] was sitting around at a meeting, and someone said, 'Who IS this Professor Snowflake person, anyway?' Can you BELIEVE IT? CAN YOU? They didn't know who I was! Hah! I just WROTE THE BOOK." And waves a completely random, unrelated book of hers at me.

liz said...

Ask for a retainer check, full funds up-front. Srsly.

shrinkykitten said...

I have now taken to calling everything "special special snowflake." I then kind of bastardized it and accidentally called my mom's dog a "special needs snowflake" which apparently offended her. I thought it was hilarious.

jo(e) said...