I think I might explode with anger and frustration. I have a proposal due next week and I cannot get to work on it because I have to finish two nominations (including writing letters) for colleagues (no, they could not have been done sooner because everyone, including the nominees, waits till the very last fuckin’ minute to send me their stuff) and I have to sit in a meeting for a university-level committee all morning tomorrow and then I teach in the afternoon.

And this is the service that is actually not bullshit. And don’t tell me to delegate, because I am the delegate.

Sometimes there is simply too much work for the time available. And the time crunch comes about not from sitting on one’s hands but from constantly having to put out fires; urgent always trumping important, until it’s too late. 

So please, don’t give me advice on how to optimize my time. I assure you I have heard everything and am aware of all the tricks. Most “tricks” involve dropping stuff or dumping stuff on someone else. Or simply being an asshole, like some of my colleagues, and not give a damn if service obligations go to $hit.
I have already cut all that could be cut; this week alone I refused probably 6-7 review requests.

Absent dumping my work on someone else, it is the issue of simple math: there is too much work for the time that I have. And no, it is not my character flaw, or my inability to get organized or whatever. So please refrain from giving advice.

Where will I be all weekend? Right fuckin’ here, in my office, non-stop. Butt glued to the chair.


Which reminds me: I received reports from a highfalutin journal. Of the three, one was very positive and 2 sentences long. One was blanket dismissive, also 2 sentences. One was misguided and factually wrong (an example of a little knowledge being a bad thing), but at least the person wrote several paragraphs.

To all my colleagues who can’t be bothered to read the whole 4-page letter-type manuscript and who can’t be bothered to write more than 2 sentences: screw you. I always write detailed reports, especially if I don’t like the paper. I do so even if I do like the paper, so the authors would have some ammunition to fight the potentially negative reviews.

Screw you all, lazy referees. You are crappy colleagues. I hope all you receive in the next 5 years are blanket dismissals conveyed through 2-sentence reports.
You don’t deserve my time or my effort to read and understand your papers and write detailed reports.
And neither do you, unbelievably slow editor who actually lets not one but two 2-sentence reports through as actual reviews. Screw you, too.


  1. Lots of commiseration with the pain of being pushed up against deadlines because everyone else is doing everything at the last freaking minute.

  2. No, see, if you want to meet all these deadlines, all you need to do is adopt this one system and listen to those one guru who totally…

    *OUCH!!!* Stop throwing things at me!

  3. I hate all of the above too. 😦 (I especially hate “Hurry up and wait”)

    Well, that’s not quite true, I don’t mind when one of my 3 reviews is two sentences saying the paper is important and perfect and don’t change a thing. Assuming the editor goes with R&R or accept!

  4. that was JaneB. Stupid wordpress keeps stupid messing up my stupid displayed user name. Some days I hate computers. Much empathy on your colleague and deadline woes…

  5. If you lived nearby, I’d take you out for a beer and commiserate (take this as a a cyberhug of sorts – cyberbeer?). I have no advice about the deadlines – you are way more disciplined and organized than I am. And some people just suck. I keep rediscovering that as well…

  6. Thanks, Tigerlily!

    The infuriating thing about people sucking is that they just keep getting away with it. Most of the time, there is no penalty whatsoever for sucking, because there is always someone to pick up the slack. So if someone is a selfish a$$, they are golden: they have no guilt that the rest of have to deal with when acting like $hit, so they just do what suits them and don’t waste time on what isn’t in their interest. They lose neither time nor sleep over things that don’t benefit them. Selfishness FTW.

    You’d think I would get that by now, given my advanced age. People suck. I seem to keep surprising myself with it over and over again. Naive like a baby.

    But beer is awesome. One perk of the midwest is excellent local beer.

    Mmmm…. Beeeeeeeeeer…

  7. I wish I could bring you beer, or a plate of cookies. Or both! Sometimes even the most organized of us just have too much damn work to do. I hope this crunch passes soon!

  8. Since you don’t want to be told what to do, I won’t. But I will tell you that I never do any work at all on the weekend ever. And I do a lot of administrative tasks, including directing a graduate program.

  9. People like CPP are *probably* the reason why you always end up having to do administrative things at the last @#$32ing minute.

    Also I would like to rant about asshole reviewers right now. Guy gives us two pages of comments. We address all but the first, which we strongly disagree with. We completely reframe the paper. We add substantial amounts to the model allowing it to address something brand new that had never been addressed before that’s outside the scope of the model (but reviewer #2 notes is “a nice touch” and the editor notes as “clever”), and the guy says, “Not surprisingly, since the paper has not moved much from the first round my opinion of the paper has not moved much from the first round.” because we only addressed his WRONG comment with a full page of discussion in the referee letter (sketching out the controversy and carefully explaining why our particular situation is on the other side and not the one he’s talking about) and “perhaps some tangentially-related text in a footnote or two.” If you’re reading this right now, Reviewer #1, you’re seriously a jerk. We @#$23ing *addressed* every single thing you said, but you CHOSE not to read our letter and just to reread the paper and keep your wrong opinions.

  10. People like CPP are *probably* the reason why you always end up having to do administrative things at the last @#$32ing minute.

    With rare exceptions, I will not work weekends because in the long term it leaves me more tired and less productive. I am also not a last-minute worker. These two statements are not correlated.

  11. Well, this is somewhat off topic, but since the title of the post is “ranty” and you mention nominations…. can I rant about a grad advisor who says great things to me about my research, has even said some very nice things to colleagues about my work, but then it totally slips his mind to nominate me for an award that, judging from his words, I totally deserve? This award is the only honor that I can receive from my school upon graduation, mind you. I was upset but after some time, I managed to bring it up with him — gingerly! His response: “Oops, my bad. I’ve been so busy … oh well.” I guess to him it’s really no big deal.

    Most of my disappointment stems from the fact that I thought I was lucky enough to have an advisor that would really be my champion. But maybe he only made feel that way so I would bust my butt for him over these past 5 yrs? And now that I’m about to graduate, he couldn’t care less.

    Should I have asked him to nominate me? Should I continue to rely on him as a primary reference? How do I know just how enthusiastically he will recommend me? I feel like I’ve been played….

  12. @Astra, then it’s a good thing people like CPP don’t dump administrative things on you at the last minute, isn’t it.

    Hmmph, I wasn’t directing a dig at our hostess, just pointing out that my work schedule doesn’t make me one of the offenders, either. (Nor CPP, though one can tweak him for other reasons.)

  13. @anongrad: Sorry you got stuck in the spam folder for a while there!
    There is a continuum of advisors. The best ones are unrelenting champions of their progeny. (The best of the best are champions AND also superstars, so their championing is a veritable golden ticket.) The next best ones are those who will nominate you, but you have to keep tabs on them. Yours seem like the second kind. So take a few deep breaths, and take it for what it’s worth. He will likely support you, but won’t actively champion you, and that’s fine. A lot of people will help with nominations and letters, but want the interested party to do some leg work, or to be the propeller.

    In the future, I would nudge him when you want letters and nominations, but you have to be on top of it.

    I spent a lot of time being ticked off with my PhD advisor for not nominating me for stuff, but realized he’s too busy feeling unappreciated himself.
    He’d do it when I asked him, although I don’t think he’s very good at nominations. I, however, as I have learned in the last few years, apparently have a knack for writing strong letters (and fast!).
    So I use this superpower for my academic offspring as much as I can. And I have told my former postdoc/now professor, to be on the lookout for nominations for himself, and whatever he wants I am happy to nominate him, he just has to let me know, because I obviously can’t keep track of everything.

    People are busy. Supportive people are busy too. You can make it easier for them to support you if you are a proactive nominee.

  14. “The infuriating thing about people sucking is that they just keep getting away with it. Most of the time, there is no penalty whatsoever for sucking, because there is always someone to pick up the slack.”

    Omg, yes. People DO keep getting away with sucking. I hate that, and I, too, am tired of picking up the slack on that shit. Ugh. I’m sorry and I can relate. 😦

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