Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Overlord

OK - so one of my jobs is as a research assistant/webmaster for one of the professors at my current institution. He is commonly referred to (by his assistants) as "The Overlord" - note the capitalized "T". In general, he is actually a very good person to work for, because he actually respects the ideas and opinions of the people around him, including his grad students. There is also the fact that he pays rather well, and that is always a good thing. There are times, however, when it can be a little difficult to work for him.

Here is an example. He was out of town for a couple weeks and we were left, more or less, to our own designs. Before he left, we had told him what we would be working on the next few weeks, based on the idea that he would be gone for 2 weeks. He said fine, and we scheduled a 1:30 meeting for the Wednesday we was supposed to get back. Well, that Wednesday, 1:00 came around - we hadn't seen him yet. 1:15 - still nothing. 1:20 - finally we get an email that he might be late, or he might not show up at all. (To be fair, he had just gotten back into the country that morning and he was a little jet lagged.) Well, the end of our scheduled shift came and he hadn't shown, so we left. The next Monday, when our regular weekly meeting are usually held, we still didn't see him. So we emailed asking if we were going to meet. End of the shift, still hadn't heard, so we left. Again, in fairness, this was on July 3rd so it was the day before a holiday - understandable that he might take the time off, but it would have been nice to know that he wasn't going to show. Wednesday - we're waiting to see if he's going to come in. Nope. This time, he at least emails and lets us know. By this time, of course, we have gone through all the stuff we had planned to have ready upon his return, and while there are other things which we need to work on, there were some items which needed his input before we could go any further. And then, he asks if we can make a special meeting today, which of course we say yes to, because he is The Overlord - that and we didn't really have anything else planned. A big pain in the ass, yes? But this is the life for one of The Overlord's minions (and, yes, we are actually called "minions").

Here is where he made up for all of this, however. Today's meeting was a lunch meeting, on him, at a local Irish pub. So, we sat around, ate pub fare, drank Guinness, and talked shop. Work is always so much better when you're allowed to have a Guinness at the same time!

I maybe make it sound like working for him is worse than it actually is. He really is a very good boss to work for, and he treats his people well. There is also the fact that having worked for him looks very good on the resume. This is some one who brings in MILLIONS of dollars to the department in the form of grants and projects very year, so it looks good to have worked for him. He just can be . . . frustrating at times. Still, with the potential of being paid off in Guinness - it's all worth it!

4 comments:

Brett said...

I wish you had ordered the drink first--I got stuck with iced tea!

RogueHistorian said...

Chicken!

James said...

I enjoyed reading your narratives. Your take on things is very reassuring that there are enough people out there who really don't try to take things too seriously. Keep up the good work.

e_doe said...

research work does have its advantages...mmm. Guiness...
that is supposed to sound like homer simpson when you read it.