Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Snag

Just when I thought I was done... The proofreader's corrections have been handled and my dissertation is ready to publish except for one huge detail. I needed permissions from 3 people to use graphics and a modified table from their research in order for UMI to publish my dissertation. I sent emails asking for those 2 & 1/2 weeks ago when I found out I needed to get permissions for these (why someone -anyone- didn't clue me in to that little nugget months ago, I have no idea). Two of the people responded within an hour of my initial request and gave me permission not only to use their work now but in the future in the event I go completely insane and decide to do more research based on my results. Nice huh - even though monkeys are more likely to fly out of my ass than I will voluntarily engage in more research. The third guy is seriously pissing me off. After 3 emails and a voicemail from me, plus a voicemail from him Monday morning apologizing for the delay and promising said permission by the end of business Monday, I still don't have it. It's not like it's a difficult process. Because of today's reliance on electronic communication, all he has to do is reply to one of my emails and say, "Yes, you have my permission to use this table in your published dissertation." That's it. It took him longer to dial my phone number and leave me a message than it took to type that sentence. I can't start my postdoc and get on with the rest of my non-academic life until I have that permission, get the thing printed and the final copies land on the dissertation coordinator's desk at the school.

What the hell is it with people? You know, this is America - everyone is so busy they can't find their own asses with both hands - EVERYONE! Sadly, such the nature of our society. Some people adapt and overcome and get things done anyway - especially no-brainer stuff. Others, use their particular level of "busy" as an excuse, when in reality they're no busier than the next person.

All is not lost though. The work is in the public domain. I was just asking permission as a professional courtesy. I'm giving him until tomorrow. If I don't hear from him by then, I'm citing it as such, getting the damn thing printed and moving on.


Romulus Crowe said...

I'm often asked 'Why are there far fewer reports of ghosts nowadays? Is it because we're more sophisticated and don't believe in that mediaeval crap any more?'

No, it's because everyone is in too much of a hurry, and far too self-absorbed to notice. I see so many people, not just the young, with their ears plugged with headphones and their eyes closed all the time. They don't notice the living. The dead have no chance.

Your final permission-giver can do the deal in five seconds. He has five seconds, but he seems more important if it looks as though he doesn't. In his mind.

Beware of this: academia is full of pretentious cretins who seem, at first, to be Great People. Check for clay feet before idolising (I learned the hard way :)).

Start analysing what he actually does all day. That will get your approval sorted out. He won't want you digging. The hurried people don't like to feel the touch of reality.

Dr. Shedevil said...

Yes - self-absorbed sums it up nicely but I was trying to avoid using that term, hence it be slung at me someday.

I have no clue what his comings and goings include all day. He's in New York City and I'm out in the boonies somewhere southwest of Dallas. He may be a dialect snob, who knows?

Remind me of my roots by slamming my head into a wall if I ever become that prat.

Dr. Shedevil said...

Oh yeah - I forgot to mention - I went ahead and modified the citation as public domain work and sent it to my printer friends. They'll have it ready for me tomorrow. As soon as I leave the place, I'm heading straight to the post office, dammit.

Brunhilda said...

Ah, pull his ass down out of that ivory tower. I hope he signs off soon.