Monday, February 19, 2007

Overachieving Incompetence

There is very little that’s worse than dealing with overachieving incompetents. I have (at least) one course this semester that is organized and administered by such people. The schedule has changed no less than four times since it was officially set in stone back in December. If I would’ve bought all their required texts, I would’ve paid about $500. If I would’ve been keeping up with the required reading of said texts, I would’ve read more than 1000 pages … per week. As if I would’ve had time buying texts and reading them when I’m required to attend class every Monday for three hours as well as the required seven-hour session at least once a month on a Saturday. Luckily I haven’t bought any of the required texts, and I’ve read no more than 10 pages altogether just to get the gist of what there are going to try to discuss in our meetings. I’m now getting to the point where I have absolutely no desire to read their own submissions of their work. The requirement is to submit 2-10 pages per workshop, and the average submission has been closer to twenty pages. It would’ve been much higher if I wouldn’t have stuck to the minimum two-page requirement. That’s one requirement I can get behind! Also, there’s no reason I need to read something that hasn’t even been proofread and spellchecked. When I download their papers and open them in MS Word, my screen is filled with red squiggles under every misspelled word. Are they fucking blind? Or have they in their sheer incompetence managed to turn off this function on their own computers? Am I really asking too much for a Ph.D. student to know how to use commas properly? For my own required presentation I’ll do on the last day of the semester, I borrowed the required text through interlibrary loan, chose five pages that I’m going to introduce and talk about, and photocopied the excerpt for myself and my colleagues. Anything more would be asking too much. At this point, it should be required (and enough) to be a functional and useful human being.


  1. This is my biggest fear--that I'm an overachieving incompetent whose thin veneer of faked competence will be stripped away. The actual stripping may freakishy coincide with my receipt of my degree and I'll be left homeless, alone, and in debt. The antidote to such an ending? Stay in school!


  2. UPDATE: Monday the schedule was changed yet again by the "leader." And my contribution to the "discussion": "You left out a pronoun in your second sentence, page one." Anything a half-blind, half-retarded proofreader would've discovered. I thought graduate school was supposed to challenge me to be a better thinker and writer, not challenge me with dealing with everyone's inability to think and write.

  3. Minerva,

    You have nothing to worry about. Your vocabulary alone is enough to crush mere mortals and stun the insipid. How you got such big words in that head of yours I'll never know...!

  4. Uh doesn't have to work hard these days to stun the insipid. The bar is currently set pretty low. How sad is it when a lawyer who graduted with honors, mind you, from a respected law school sneered in derision ("oooo SAT word") at me when I dared to throw down "ubiquitous".

    And I would make further comment about some of my personal graduate school experiences, but as a social worker, I am no longer allowed to use the term "retarded."