As most of you probably know (or have figured out) at this point, I basically live at my University. I am a grad student after all, so this is probably not too surprising. While it means I get a lot done, spending so much time in my office does have its downsides as well. One of them is that I end up seeing the same people all the time. In most cases this is not a big - I generally like the people I work with. There are some, however, who have made me occasionally want to bring in either a 2x4 or about 2 feet of lead pipe and "adjust" their attitude. One such person has come across my path several times in the last few weeks.
Prior to entering the graduate program here, this particular person had spend a number of years (about 20) teaching at a community college with an M.A., but had finally reached the limit of what he could earn without the Ph.D. So he decided to go back to school and get one. Fine - I'm all for people doing this. But he makes it seem like, because he's spent time in the "real world" he should get some kind of special consideration. For example, it's a mandatory part of the Ph.D. program for people who are planning on teaching post-secondary history classes that they take PFF (Preparing Future Faculty). No exceptions, even for people who already have experience. This is because there are new techniques and theories of history education being developed all the time, and the department feels it's important for teachers coming out this program to know these. The particular co-worker bitches and complains endlessly about having to take this class. Three words: Deal. With. It.
Just now, I overheard him complaining about the fact that he would have to spend next semester grading papers as a TA. He felt like if he had to grade undergrad papers he should be able to work with the person he wants, or at least in an area of history he's interested in. Well, sorry, but the system doesn't work that way. TA-ships are assigned based on a number of factors including the professor's other classes, class sizes, past use of TAs, etc., etc., etc. Long story short, neither professors or TAs get to pick, so complaining isn't going to get you anything. Plus, to my way of thinking, the department is not only waiving your tuition, they're paying you as well! And this means you just do the job they tell you to do. Take me for example: I specialize in Public History and historic preservation. I'm not planning on teaching any time soon (maybe 20 or 25 years down the road, but not now). And yet, for my first two years, half of my TAship every semester was grading - often in fields outside my own. I've graded for classes on Western Civ, Jazz and culture, and Russian history. Russian history! I've never even taken a class on Russian history. The closest I ever came was having a roommate who spent 6 months in Russia one semester during my undergrad. What the fuck did I know about Russian history?!? Nothing! Now I have some understanding, but I sure as hell didn't going into that class.
So, to this particular co-worker, get over yourself. You're nothing special around here and people are sick of all your bitching and complaining. Grow a pair and get to work.