Posted by: thediygeochemist | January 26, 2010

Sometimes I’m too nice!

I got a phone call from a professor today, one who has done me a favor in the past. “I have a favor to ask of you,” he began.

“Oh?” I replied, scratching my head as I tried to figure out what I could do for him.

“One of my Ph.D. students has just figured out that he can graduate this semester. But to do that, he needs to give his seminar before such and such a date. Would you mind if we bumped your seminar to a different date? It would have to be Feb 9.”

I looked at my calendar. “Isn’t that, like, two weeks away?”

“Ummm. Yeah. Could you do that?”

I evaluated: My seminar is almost done. It needs practice, of course, and fine tuning. But the Power Point is all done except the last slide or two (I hate doing conclusions). I’ve done run throughs of the parts I’ve finished.

“Oh, all right,” I said.

The professor was effusive in his thanks. But as I hung up the phone, I started to sweat: what had I gotten myself into? Why can’t I say no to anyone?



  1. You have to learn to say no. Otherwise you will become a pushover to all, including your PI. But don’t be unreasonable about things. I say acquiesce to this request but make sure you can plant your feet in the ground. Case in point, PI wants me to stay late for our weekly meetings. Give in. Outreach people and dean want me to teach high school kids visiting during a week that I have stuff going on. Tell them to kick rocks.

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