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perp's in our lab space

elizabeth lee johnson ejohnson at indiana.edu
Sat Jun 14 14:49:40 EST 1997

aloisia t schmid (a-schmi at uiuc.edu) wrote:
:         Also, when we were discussing this in the lab yesterday, one of
: the things I mentioned to a post-doc friend is that the janitors we have
: in our building always feel creepy and slightly threatening too.  Are you
: being an elitest snob in not wanting to chat?  I notice they don't insist
: on chatting with the men, but they do with the women and they are always
: just a little over the top. This is obviously a much smaller point, but
: you know what?  It always makes me uncomfortable and I always look forward
: to being in the lab on the week-ends when I know they won't be here.....

When I worked at a national lab over the summer, I had a weird 
encounter with a janitor. I was leaving at night and he asked me for a
ride. I had never talked to him before that and don't make it a practice 
to let strangers in my car so I said "no, sorry" and kept walking. 
He yelled "why" after me, but I didn't respond.  The room where 
I worked was a very large room divided into cubicles for about 100 people. 
It seemed that I was always the only person working at night or on weekends, 
but I could never tell since the room was so large and had many barriers. 
The encounter with the janitor made me very uncomfortable about being 
there by myself. So I switched to working mainly on weekends when he 
wasn't there.

Looking at it rationally, it seemed as though I over-reacted, but I guess I
felt a bit creepy about working in a large room where I couldn't tell who 
was there anyway and his actions didn't make me feel much better.  I'm 
not sure what else I could do other than switch my overtime hours. He didn't
really do anything that warranted a complaint and I'm not big on direct
confrontation.  It's frustrating.

Liz Johnson

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