Tell me about your asshole

I spent three hours today in a faculty meeting that wouldn’t die. What makes it worse is that we’re a small department, so people notice if you’re gone. Worse than that, it was a continuation of a faculty meeting held over from the previous week because THAT one went three hours. However, what makes this horrific beyond all imagination is our resident asshole was in top form.

I’m not going to explain the full nature of his assholic behavior, as to do so would only bring back the headache I spent the last seven hours trying to get rid of. However, this is a guy who before I was hired told the whole faculty, including the dean, that for the money they were spending on me, they could get someone good. He once turned in a peer evaluation of me that didn’t evaluate my class as much as it told me that he disliked my approach to everything. He also didn’t actually speak to me for the first year I was there. At all. He just told other faculty I wasn’t worth anything. Charming.

The meeting devolved to the point where after he decided to piss and moan about me for something I didn’t really have a say in, I finally had enough and told him if it would make him feel better, we could leave the meeting so he could beat the shit out of me. He declined, but continued to bitch.

My mother-in-law spent the day telling me that there are people like him everywhere. Since misery loves company, please tell me this is true.



21 thoughts on “Tell me about your asshole

  1. Yo, Doc, my immediate supervisor/agency head once told our entire staff I was “evil incarnate”. Beat that! Note: the entire staff laughed and they couldn’t wait to tell me. She eventually left in disgrace, but it made for some rather uncomfortable staff meetings.

  2. Not in my department, but in my grad-school days: Had two profs who hated each other, which in and of itself wasn’t a big deal, except that they refused to be in the same room unless faculty meetings required it (and then they sat there, pointedly ignoring each other, according to other profs). Unfortunately, they were natural complements for many students’ committee. Once, these bastards even failed a kid’s thesis defense for no other reason than he had made them sit in the same room, despite their tiff happening about the time the poor guy left elementary school, and neither being his major professor. After that, we pretty much grilled every new grad student about their planned committee as soon as they entered school, and had to disabuse several of that pairing.
    At my current school, have an education prof who has a categorization system for students’ “correct” teaching style. Will fail them for giving a brilliant presentation in the “wrong” style. Luckily, she stopped attending faculty senate after she got no votes for the leadership position she thought was hers by right.

  3. I have a parent who thinks their judgment of who is first chair in my band is better than mine. Quoth the parent: “I’m a pretty good musician too. I disagree with your assessment that Student X is better than my child.”
    Oh good, I’m glad you’re in our band class for forty five minutes every day and have heard every note of every rehearsal from every kid. Please don’t let my twenty five years as a musician, eleven as a band director, two consecutive awards of teacher of the year for the district and post secondary degrees in instrumental conducting and literature get in the way of your expertise. I bow to your superior musicianship.
    Elitist sarcasm much? Well, yeah, I guess I indulge in it from time to time.
    OH yes. Also, their child — both of them, actually, going back five years to this kid’s older sibling– has been throwing auditions to better students because they “didn’t want to cause trouble.”
    I’m not going to go into too much more detail here and now, because it’s hardly worth the bandwidth, but also because these people have problems with pretty much every single teacher the kid has ever had. I wonder at what point is a student responsible for their own actions or lack thereof in their education?
    This too shall pass. Frustrating end to an otherwise great school year.

  4. Yes, assholes are everywhere. And all too often are rewarded for asshole behavior, encouraging even more asshole behavior.
    Somehow that cycle needs to get broken. Or something does.

  5. You know, I worked with lots of people at various newspapers that were inconsolably batshit crazy nuts, but none of them were really assholes. Liars, thieves, drunks, lunatics, unreliable in the extreme, sure, but assholes? No.
    In my non-newspaper life, however, I’ve encountered a particularly passive-aggressive lady who has no manners at all, gleefully back-talks everybody and then huffs off when called on her behavior by saying, “Well, I never intended for you to hear that.” THEN STOP TELLING ALL MY FRIENDS YOU THINK I SUCK, BITCH, LIKE YOU REALLY THOUGHT IT WOULDN’T GET BACK TO ME, AND OH MY GOD ARE WE STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL REALLY. Every other sentence out of her mouth is something so horrendously rude I just sit there, staring, with my mouth open because while I can handle all kinds of crazy, and for all that I pretend to be this hardass, it really does make me tired and discouraged, having to deal with someone who finds a reason to shit all over everything I do.
    And whatever I do, it’s never enough for this chick. If I come early to a thing she’s mad I’m there early. If I come late she’s mad I’m there late. If I try to be friendly she snaps at me. If I ignore her she tells everyone I’m rude and “giving her the silent treatment.” She’s clearly just out for drama and it is exhausting deflecting that all the time so as not to become a bit player in her soap opera.

  6. Sorry to hear that doc. I am one of the lucky ones, my department is genuinely warm and helpful to a person, and they were unbelievably supportive when my kid was diagnosed with cancer last year – they literally broke into my office, grabbed my notes and started teaching my classes for the next two weeks – all i was told was to take care of my kid, everything was covered. We often don’t get much done in department meetings either, but it is because we end up bullshitting once the major agenda item has been covered. The upside of teaching at a small liberal arts college.
    On the other hand, I spent a few years as a post doc at a major university, and the interactions among faculty was a large part of why I am where I am now. I saw blatant acts of sabotage from the students and faculty from competing lab, just brutal.

  7. Doc,
    I think she left your department and took over the one I couldn’t finish probation in at my alma mater.
    I’m sorry you had to deal with that…

  8. When I was a grad student (centuries ago, it seems now) we had to attend dept meetings, held inexplicably on Friday at 3 pm. Most of the time, the chair zipped through business, then asked if anyone had anything else to discuss. If one faculty member, a genuinely sincere but demented guy, raised his hand, everyone died a little inside because his questions were hours long, interlaced with commentary and further ponderings, so much so that by the time he was done, no one had a clue what he’d originally meant to bring up . . . which meant the matter had to be clarified . . . which meant further wanderings . . . I’ve avoided any such gatherings on Friday afternoons ever since.

  9. M, that’s why I like morning meetings. People have to leave to get to their days, so stuff tends to get done faster with less time for indulging someone’s need to pontificate.

  10. I think we just managed to fire, sorry – “lay off” our department’s biggest asshole. The only silver lining in the budgetary crisis we’re dealing with as a K12 district. She spent most of a year trying to get two or three of us fired, succeeded in getting our boss fired, and then when she went after the boss’s replacement, he proved to be too savvy and too well liked by the higher-ups, so he survived. Then, time came for a Reduction In Force and she was front and center in his gunsights. It helped that his boss, who was in on the attempt to give him the bum’s rush, was also let go. It’s been hard to live with the stress of the downsizing, but it’s definitely given us a chance to cut loose some dead weight.
    Now I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, and for someone else to step up to the role of Biggest Asshole.

  11. A. . . . mornings are definitely better, or even afternoons early in the week. But we never found out who thought 3 pm on Friday was a good time to gather for a coherent, useful discussion . . . other than our effusive colleague, that is!

  12. The neighbor chick downstairs from me and across the stoop… Friendly enough when I moved in. We both like to make edible yummies. The trouble started early enough when she’d slag me off for using boxed mixes for my cakes… Um, nothing wrong w/boxed mixes when one’s kitchen is barely big enough to turn around in. I DO make my own buttercream frosting (w/real butter NOT shortening). Then she gets all high and mighty as if she’s Gahhhd’s gift to the kitchen and rattles off names of specialty goods (and then MISPRONOUNCES them!!!). She slags off everyone she knows in the little complex and was dating on-again/off-again the mental case down the building and brought all of us w/her between breakups and crying/pain-filled jags…then gets back w/him after swearing off of him and then ceases to even acknowledge me. Which would be fine, except I have to see her stupid ass daily and hear her braying ass voice trumpeting how posh she thinks she is (when she’s been late on her rent and partial paid it more times than I can fathom why she hasn’t been kicked out). She uses folks and then disses them – and why someone hasn’t beaten her trailer-pretending-to-be-society-ass down yet is a frakkin’ miracle. She lets her dog (who is a sweet dog) run around w/o a leash (against the law), she does NOT pick up his leavings when she walks him (another broken law)…and yet complains about anything similar that others do…!??! Look in da mirror you frakkin’ cow! I can’t wait to move away from here. She’s a really annoying version of Gladys Kravetz.

  13. Seems to me that people that qualify for this title usually have another one – VP of something-or-other, Chief something Officer. Not always, to be sure, but more than in the average population. I don’t know, maybe it’s a job requirement? Or maybe once you get such a position, morphing into an asshole is a job hazard? Anyway, one need look no further than the news to see examples of what I mean (although I’m talking from personal experience here).
    As for dealing with them, my father is fond of saying (translated from the original German): “People like that deserve a kick in the ass. And if they ask why, then another one.”

  14. The Other Michael,
    I think it has to do with some high muckity-mucks being raging assholes and thus they promote other members of their tribe so that they have company, and then it just devolves into you are either a raging asshole and thus get pulled up the ladder, or you are not a raging asshole and (a) are never considered for promotion because you are a souled being, and (b) you never want to be promoted because then you have to spend your time with the raging assholes.
    I also wonder if it is not a way to get rid of morons – you actively seek to promote them out of your sphere in the hope that they become someone else’s problem. Case in point: One of our former Vps was a complete moronand had the social skills of a concussed budgie. She was so bad they fired her during the middle of the term. We suspect her old school simply bald-faced lied about her qualifications and accomplishments when called to get her off their campus. Amazingly, after being fired in no uncertain terms, she applied for her old job when it was opened up (didn’t make it past the first cut, but damn)

  15. The wife half of my husband-and-wife boss pair has a serious pot-kettle problem, and it sounds like your asshole may live within the same defensive posture, Doc.
    M. is the most passive-aggressive person I’ve ever met, and bitches about each of the employees to everyone but the employee in question. When she does talk to you directly, it is with this angry and long-suffering tone of voice, and last week I’d had it. I asked her point-blank why she was so angry at me, and her response was to mock me in her whiny singsong (in front of the entire office): “Why are you somean to me? Why are you somean to me?” When I calmly told her I didn’t say mean, but angry, she asked, “What’s the difference?” I didn’t bother to explain.
    When I recently gave up two days of my five-day vacation to finish a project that had run late because of a shipping delay, I got no appreciation but instead an unprovoked diatribe on how she & her husband haven’t taken a vacation in ten years, and how I take so much time off I shouldn’t get any vacation anyway. I’ve taken half a day off in the last two months because my son had a migraine and couldn’t go to school, which compares favorably to her daily 2½ hr martini lunch with her hubby, and the 3 afternoons a week she’s at the hairdresser’s, or getting her nails filled, or at her chiropractor.
    But, in her defense I am the chickenshit who’s worked here for 15 years because I bought their “we don’t offer a 401k because we’re working on making the company employee-owned” bullshit. A decade and a half later, there’s still no such plan, and I’m buffing my resume.

  16. Geez, Doc…I feel your pain…the worst assholes are behind me I hope! In grad school, there were divisions in the faculty and basically your life depended on who you worked for. Unfortunatley, I started working in the lab of someone on the outs with several of the factions; 2 years later, I switched labs due to a funding loss and then was on the “right” side but never forgot the treatment I got before that… as the hubby noted: you should wear the name tag of your advisor rather than your own and then everyone knows how to treat you based on that” and it really wasn’t far from the truth. It was truly pitiful…glad I survived it and moved on to the “That’s not the way we did it at Cold Spring Harbor” asshole for my first postdoc…
    No more assholes that I know of right now -we have a few slackers and high maintenance types in the dept but so far I avoid them when I can!

  17. A couple of people have mentioned non-academic settings. In the business world, there are always certain people at meetings who love to hear themselves talk and, in order to do so, initiate trivial discussions that drag on forever. Experts have published guidelines on how to avoid things like this from happening, but the rules seldom are followed – at least where I have worked. And, as to people who take a dislike to you, that happens, often for no apparent reason.

  18. RE: Is it true?
    I’d give examples, but it would take a sixpack to get started, and after that it would become a Faulknerian trilogy. Life’s too short.

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