Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I WILL have the last word.

Sometimes it is so, so very difficult not to have the last word about something. Thank goodness for my blog.

I have found myself in a situation with a superior of mine at school (let's call him Superior #1). Basically, I have a deadline coming up for my thesis--it is July 11th. I defended my thesis on April 30th, but passed "with revisions," meaning that I wasn't completely done until I finished those. Well, I took it easy after I defended, knowing I would get it done in time for the deadline, but desperately wanting to escape the thing for a month or two. Which is exactly what I did.

Shortly after I came back to working on it just a few weeks ago, I had a frantic email from this superior of mine. And many frantic emails which followed the first. You see, Superior #1 had assumed I would quickly finish my revisions (without communicating this to me; and actually, he had suggested I "take my time" so that it looked like we had given due diligence to the suggested revisions which came from another person), and he had failed to properly manage his own time and various personal projects he had going on. And unfortunately, he had failed to communicate with me that another superior (we will call her Superior #2), who also needed to approve the revisions, was leaving on vacation and had hoped to be done reviewing my thesis a full 10 days prior to the actual deadline.

Let me say here that had I known about these secret time constraints, I would have been respectful and compliant. I would have bitten the bullet and gotten it done. But as it was, I was happily enjoying my summer and preparing to get it done in time for the deadline.

Well, everything came to a head last week when Superior #2 informed Superior #1 that Friday was the last day she would look at my thesis before she came back from vacation--after July 11th. In other words, if she didn't have it by Friday, I wouldn't graduate this semester. Which would mean I would continue to be a "BS Intern Therapist" next semester wherever I find a job, and any hours I accrued would not move me towards licensure. It would be a big blow, especially for someone who actually defended earlier than all of her classmates.

Anyway, Superior #1 and I kept sending the thesis back and forth last week--every time I sent it, I thought maybe I had made the final revisions; every time he would send it back with more suggestions. (insert: Superior #1 is extremely self-conscious and has actually applied pressure to me by saying that he can't have Superior #2 thinking he doesn't know how to chair a thesis. Interesting, because he has done very little to actually "chair" my thesis, other than this frantic craziness in the last couple of weeks.) Finally, I sent if off late Thursday night, hopeful it was complete. Knowing this might not be the case, however, I asked Superior #1 to please, please call me or text me, as I would be driving to Kentucky the following day and would need a heads-up to get to a place with a computer/internet if I needed to change something.

No word from Superior #1.

I called; no answer. Left a message.

I texted; no response.

What would you do? Probably forget about it! Which is what I did. I enjoyed the weekend with Chad. We unpacked my stuff and went camping and had a glorious time. Sunday I arrived home to frantic emails from Superior #1. "Cammie, I don't want to assume what this silence means. I still have not heard from you. Please tell me if you are working on the thesis and making the revisions." Emails from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Aaaaaarrrrrgh!! I wanted to scream. Instead, I picked myself up, went to campus at 9:00 at night on Sunday, and started pounding away at the new set of suggested revisions. In walked Superior #1. I was calm, but I asked him, "Is your phone broken? I have called and texted. And did you not read my email where I asked you to please call me?" He gave a weak excuse about his phone being on silent (for the past 3 days?!) and proceeded to tell me about how I had picked the worst time for this. (Excuse me, I did not choose the deadline.) He had a book chapter due yesterday, and he was going to have to make some excuses tomorrow about why it wasn't done. (Why is this my problem?)

His advice to me: "Cammie, I was in to see [Superior #1] on Friday since I hadn't heard from you [suppressed scream of frustration] and she said she absolutely did not want to see anything but the final version. We are going to be very lucky if she will take the time to read it Monday or Tuesday before she goes on vacation. If I were you, I would write her an email, tell her you know this is all your fault. And then tell her you know you are at her mercy and that you are confident if she will just take the time to read a few pages of your discussion, she will see the document is high quality."

My response: "Okay." (what the freak? all my fault? can you say "DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO SAVE FACE?")

And then, I said, "You know, if I would have known things were going to be so crazy for you, I would have acted differently. You could have told me you needed this done early."

His response: "Yeah, well you're in your own little world. You're thinking about yourself. It's okay."


[sorry, this is the longest post ever]

Anyway, I sent the thing to Superior #2 Sunday night. And she told me, in a kind but not very reassuring way, "I will do my best. I am very busy. If I find an extra hour at some point, I will definitely read it." (Oh, great. . .)

I sent an email to Superior #1 letting him know what had happened. I said something like, "I finished the revisions and sent it to Superior #2. I really hope she will find time to read it, although she wasn't terribly reassuring. If she doesn't get to it, I will have to move to Plan B. I will arrange a meeting with the head of the department. Surely, in a situation such as this, he could "sit in" on my committee or appoint someone else to do so. I don't think it is fair for me not to graduate because of what has happened when I was not clear about there being an early deadline." And then, "Anyway, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. Hopefully Superior #2 will find time to read it."

The good news: Superior #2 found an "unexpected extra hour" and read it, said it looked great, and she was signing the papers.

The infuriating news: I had a patronizing email from Superior #1 this morning, telling me how glad he was it had worked out for me, that Superior #2's reading the thesis Monday was really our last hope, and that sometime he would explain to me why the suggestion I had made in a prior email (the one about going to the head of the department) would have never worked.

This man HAS to have the last word. (And he's already telling co-workers and other students about how irresponsible I was--he chooses all the right details to paint that picture, believe me.) I wanted to shoot back an email, saying, "That's nice. Interesting you think it wouldn't have worked--I think you are just relieved I didn't expose your incompetence to the head of the department. Let's please skip that conversation." But I didn't say that. I haven't said anything. I am saying it here. I feel so infuriated but so limited because I really can't afford to make an enemy of Superior #1. My lot is to smile, nod, and bite my tongue while enduring a barrage of patronizing comments about how selfish I am, how thoughtless and irresponsible, how fortunate at the mercy of Superior #2, etc.

And the follow-up email this morning from Superior #1: "Both Superior #2 and I would like a bound copy of your thesis."

That'll be the most begrudged $50 gift I've ever given, I can assure you.

Oh, I am so bitter. Please, please don't hate me for being such a bitter wreck right now. I will cool down, really. But right now I am just mad.


  1. You are so cute. Holding your tongue is definitely hard, but just wait until you get that piece of paper saying you are through..then it's all water under the bridge.

    1. it IS hard, huh?! but you're right Pam, it's almost over. worth it!

  2. Hang in there, Cam! This guy sounds like a total... um...jerk. Proud of you for keeping your cool with him, I'm not so sure I could have. You're almost there!!! So proud of you!!

    1. haha...well, I did my best at keeping my cool. I don't know if writing a 10-page rant on my blog counts, though! ;) hey, so excited to see you in a couple weeks!

  3. So, what happened to your thesis, Cammie? Well, I think you can’t really tell whether or not you can pass or not, if you don’t give all. But, if you gave your all on your phd dissertation, then there is nothing to worry about and all would be good in the end.

    1. I finished. :) All is good. It seems like soooo long ago, now!


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