My friend is a department chair and head of a search committee in her department. For their first job candidate, she checked the room she’d booked for the job talk and found that not only did it have no chairs, but the floor was wet. Housekeeping said, sorry not sorry, but that’s your problem, not ours.
Luckily she discovered this several hours before the job talk and was able to scramble to get another room booked. If she hadn’t checked with plenty of time upfront it would have been a disaster. (Checking was not trivial since it’s in another building and it’s cold outside.)
I recently found out that I handle more articles than any of the other associate editors for one of the journals I’m an associate editor at. The new EIC let that slip. I honestly didn’t think that some of the famous people who are associate editors were doing a whole ton. Anyhow, I also turned out to be the first person to make a decision on a paper with the new EIC in charge and he got very annoyed at *me* because whatever was set up on the editor-in-chief side wasn’t working for him! He’s like, I got the email saying you sent something to me, but I cannot see it. Where is it?! And another email to me with, “You need to login to see for yourself,” including screen shots. And I’m like, I don’t know what you’re supposed to see, but there’s nothing I can do about it (except I didn’t say that because I’ve been socialized as a female so instead I said it got archived on my side just like it always does and maybe he didn’t have the access he needed for the full EIC setup?) So he emailed the company that takes care of that and was like, Nicole suggested that maybe I don’t have the full access I’m supposed to. UGH. If I weren’t so on top of things someone else would have had this interaction and it would have been a guy so the conversation would have gone differently. But it’s not my fault he didn’t get a full tutorial before taking over! And he’s been in transition for over a month! Surely the outgoing editor could have assigned him something and walked him through it. [Also: He did have full access, he just didn’t click on the obvious link, as I saw in the screencap instructions that the company then sent that I was cc’d on.]
At the end of last semester I still didn’t know what classes I would be teaching this semester because the chair hadn’t told me yet, so I checked the online courses and discovered that we had dead and retired people signed up to teach classes we no longer offer because something had gone wrong with the system and they’d posted a schedule from years ago. I pointed this out to the department chair (succinctly and politely, I swear!). No thanks, just irritation.
At the beginning of this semester I tried to get into my new classroom to see the set-up and where the camera was and if there were whiteboards and markers etc. But I couldn’t get in because we no longer have keys and for some reason they cancelled all our card access, including the chair’s. Sorry anybody with an 8am class, you would have been SOL unless you could find a maintenance person to let you in. Chair mildly annoyed, especially when I hadn’t heard anything and asked about it again after classes started but before my first class (zie had put in a work order but hadn’t heard back yet, not sure what happened with 8am classes).
I also am generally the person to discover that the xerox machine is broken at the beginning of the semester. I’m pretty good at fixing it, but sometimes there are things that need an actual technician.
We had a full day faculty retreat and I forced the department head to have a pre-meeting to make sure we could get everything on the agenda that zie wanted. (Obviously we couldn’t) and to make sure that zie knew what hir priorities were for each item on the agenda. And to make sure we HAD an agenda!! And then during the meeting I kept things on track and pulled back to the agenda any time we started going in circles or strayed too far. Nobody was happy about this, especially people who weren’t at the last full day faculty retreat where we accomplished nothing (but at least we weren’t indoors during a pandemic). But we stuck to the agenda, got the answers the chair needed, and ended on time.
In multiple coauthorships I’m generally the annoying person calling for meetings or asking when they’ll have a chance to look at things. I’m not very good at this because I stop at the tiniest sign of irritation because of too much experience with people yelling at me. Much easier to just do stuff myself if I can. :/
Even DC2 gets irritated at me for being the messenger when zie gets something wrong in a homework book. It’s not my fault you did the area and not the perimeter! Just fix it! (We have told DC2 to stop being a jerk when someone points out a mistake.)
And yet, if I keep my mouth shut, things that I predict will go wrong go wrong. It’s not like I’m better off not saying anything– I’m not. If I could trust that someone else would notice or pick up the slack then I could just let things go. I could not double check things.
I do make sure to praise my RAs any time they find a mistake or bring up something odd they’ve noticed. Because it is valuable! And it is really helpful to have someone keeping things on track. I just wish it wasn’t generally me.
Do you work with competent people? Are you always double-checking and glad you did so? Do you feel appreciated?