Yesterday I confessed to reading a thread at PoliSciRumors. ‘Tis about my accepting a post at Arizona State. Paget observed that I once gave a lousy talk, but was otherwise very kind:
D’oh! Sorry about that. I have definitely given some awful talks, I do digress (this is true in conversation, classroom discussion / lectures, and even my posts here), and that does sometimes become inglorious rambling. I like to tell my students that one great thing about our line of work is that the public speaking and prose bars are low, and thus it is pretty easy to stand out positively. My favorite line is: “Try not to suck.” Paget’s observation is a reminder that I don’t always heed my own advice: I blew my one chance to make a good impression upon Paget. <sigh>
Deniece decided to troll the thread, posting six times before getting someone to join the fun.
Sydney was keen enough to recognize the awesome opportunity for witty repartee that Deniece was providing, but the rest of the troglodytes had failed to appreciate:
Whether Deniece climaxed, or not, I cannot say, but s/he chimed in one final time:
I’d recommend Deniece and Sydney to Chris Miller and Phil Lord, but alas, Deniece and Sydney are pseudonyms.
I cannot help but wonder what the life of someone who trolls threads at sites like PoliSciRumors looks like. S/he sits alone with a device, multi-tasking between whatever other things such a person does and following threads on PoliSciRumors. Or perhaps this isn’t solo play? In any case, is it possible to feel anything but pity for a person who spends time this way?
Moving on to Nadia, as seems to always happen in conversations about person X choosing job R when they could have stayed in their current job, Q, a number of folks asked why Moore would leave FSU for ASU. Someone shared that while s/he had no knowledge of my case, faculty who lose out in departmental politics sometimes look around, and upon attracting an outside offer, learn that their colleagues are happy to see them go and prevail upon Admin not to make an attractive counter offer. Nadia, apparently, is well informed, and posted this:
Thanks for playing, Nadia!
Since the set of people who might have genuine interest in my view of my options may not be empty, for the record my department chair, Charles Barrilleaux, asked me, prior to going on any interviews last fall, whether he’d be wasting his time pursuing a counter offer, should I attract an offer. I told him that the only reason he should do so is if he thought it would have value to the Dept: demonstrating to faculty that the Admin supports the Dept by making strong counter offers can have value. As I recall, he felt that given the recent history of strong counter offers that wasn’t necessary. So I told him, no, there was no need. Seventeen years is a long run, and I have never much liked gerbil wheels–except for the one Mark Donaldson built for Burning Man–and I am just ready for something new.
My colleagues have known for years that once my kids were in college I’d be interested in bugging out to see what’s over the horizon. Does that mean I “wanted out of FSU”? Nope. But it did mean I have looked around with interest for the past several years. When ASU made me the offer Charles did ask me about the specifics, expressed confidence that he could get the Dean to at least match it, and asked whether I was sure I wanted to go exploring. I told him I was, Charles did not seek a counter (the Dean apparently pressed him on the matter), and I am off to Tempe to see what fun I can get into with great new colleagues there. I’ll do my best not to suck.
As for those FSU colleagues who are happy to see me go, Nadia, HeeMin Kim left FSU a number of years ago, so he doesn’t count. But feel free to poll the current faculty. I’ll be happy to buy your drinks for an evening for each of those you locate.
 As I understand it, people have an option to post under a randomly assigned pseudonym or their own moniker, and the majority opt for the former.
 My participant observant status in such conversations has been face to face, but I suspect it is common online as well. My goal during such conversations is to manage my frustration and hope it ends soon (I may explain this in a future post).
 If you are thinking “That is not an income maximizing strategy!”, you win a Kewpie doll. File this under: I guess he’s serious when he quips that if making money was what drove him, he wouldn’t have gone into academia.
 I don’t actually know that HeeMin would have been pleased to have seen me go. But it does strike me as plausible.