are you the secretary?

Hilary Bates hbates at
Mon Feb 26 13:15:06 EST 1996

bjag at (Bharathi Jagadeesh) wrote:
>This happens to me, too. When another post-doc in the lab went to
>our occupational medical service for his pre-job workup, they assumed
>that he was a physician (he's a computer modeler) and asked him
>for his advice on treatments. On the other hand, when I came here,
>everyone assumed I was everything but a post-doc -- i.e. technician,
>animal care personnel, summer student, etc. One person
>even asked me if I was a summer student (they're 20 years old!) after
>I'd been here for a year. And I don't particularly look young, it's
>just an assumption everyone makes about an Indian woman.
>I don't get really upset about this, but it is annoying. One of
>the things that I find most annoying about it is that I really
>don't want to be snobby -- I think that there are technicians,
>animal care personnel, and summer students who all do excellent
>jobs, and I don't want to put them down. But, on the other hand,
>I do wanted to be given the same status as my white male colleagues.
>I'm coming to the conclusion that one has to give up being modest
>and make sure that people do know who you are (not only for yourself,
>but for everyone else).

I think that this is an extremely pertinent point, but perhaps not
to easy to handle in practice. Certainly if you have the opportunity
to introduce yourself, you can follow your name with "... and I'm a
postdoc in this lab." or whatever your status or qualifications
justify. It's a little more difficult when someone barges in having
made the assumption that you are a secretary or otherwise not the
person they think... (sorry, I didn't express that very well, but
I'm sure you all know what I mean).

I don't remember who posted the comment about pinning a notice to
her door saying "Stop, before you ask, I don't know where so-and-so
is". I considered doing the same thing; however, that was in
industry and the division manager was very touchy about projecting
'the right corporate image' and had already circulated a memo telling
people not to put cartoons etc. on their bulletin boards, so I think
such a sign would have created problems. Sigh...

Thanks to Bharathi and other contributors on this thread. I never 
expected my idle comment to generate such interest. :-)

hbates at

*** Disclaimer: These are the opinions of the poster not Amgen Inc.***

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