Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I totally get why academics reply to emails with "Screw you"

Seriously: this is why email was invented

Several months ago, I sent Dr Fruitloop the answers to a survey that we are filling out jointly, the answers to which will be included in a book another colleague is compiling. She said she would add to the survey and forward it to the editor.

Three weeks ago I received an email from the editor asking for our survey anwers by the end of the month. I check with the editor, and no, he definitely never received our survey.

I email Dr Fruitloop, reminding her that sending our answers to the editor was getting urgent, that he needs them by the end of August, and offering to compile and forward them myself if she'd just email me her contribution.

"That is strange," she says. "I forwarded our survey to the editor months ago. I suppose he hasn't had time to look at it yet. But I will be seeing him in October, so will ask him about it then."

Yeah... no.

**********

Other exciting adventures with Dr Fruitloop

In November I am going to be visiting the country where Dr Fruitloop works. Back in February she already started telling me how essential it was for us to meet and work together, sharing data and collaborating on a paper or two. When I told her in April that I would be coming over in November she expressed excitement and tried to persuade me to plan several weeks in her city. I explained that I could only manage one week, as I had conferences and other obligations, but that I would be available the whole week for us to work together. Asked if she had a preference for which week in November, since I could arrange my travel to be with her for any of three different periods. No, no, any of them would be fine.

Just before I booked my tickets last month, I emailed her again and confirmed that yes, the week I had in mind was good, she would be there, we could work together. Booked my tickets. Sent her the dates.

Today I get this email:

"I am looking forward to meeting you. I should warn you, though, I will be very busy that week. Please let me know what day you would like to meet so that I can set aside some time."

And now I congratulate myself heartily. When I booked my tickets, I paid a little extra so that I could retain a back-up option. (Let's just say I had a feeling about this woman.) And now it looks like I'll be spending that week partying collaborating with friends in Amsterdam instead.

1 Comment:

Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson said...

I'm spending this week at my PhD alma mater. Visiting my old advisor _AND_ one of their CS professors. My advisor told me he had no money to fund my visit, the CS prof immediately volunteered funding all of it.

Thus, I tell them my own planning restrictions and offer their pick of time. CS prof pronounces a preference, and the trip gets planned.

2 days before I leave, I get an email. "Oh, oops, was it _THIS_ week? Yeah, no, I'm not in town most of the time. Can you do Friday evening?"

And when I arrive, the CS admin personell are bitching about how they pay me to visit algebra...