Don’t Nod Off While Listening To A Job Talk

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Over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Princeton University historian Jeremy Adelman discusses some of the bad behavior he has witnessed as a former chair of the department.

Here is a taste:

First a confession of my own misdemeanor. One of the worst things a colleague — and especially a department chair — can do to other colleagues, higher or lower in the food chain, is to fall asleep in front of them. There’s no quicker way to convey boredom, disdain, indifference. Those droopy eyelids do more to ruin a relationship than all the raises or promotions in the world. (Well, maybe not all of them.) Undisguised languor is a killer, and I do it all the time; I can’t fake being awake if my pineal gland is at work. It’s worst in late afternoons, when history departments love to have their public seminars and job talks. Almost no matter how exciting the speaker is, I nod off. By now, I suspect I have a reputation as my university’s version of Sleepy. The only upside is that I am such a serial slumberer than most colleagues know not to take it personally.

For better or worse, academics rely on relationships, and sleeping is a relationship-buster. The problem is mine, but my trait makes it everyone else’s. And that is what I want to talk about: personal behaviors that impose a toll on our collective efforts.

Read the entire piece here.

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