WRITING 180: GAMES WE PLAY, 9

THE WORKLOAD GAME:

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Dear Y,

I hope you had a nice trip.

So what is your decision?

Best,

L.

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Hi L,

I would like to have a conversation with you about this. When do you have time today?

Y.

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Dear Y,

It was nice talking to you. Thank you for letting me know your decision.

Given you insist a different interpretation of my contract, I may have to ask others for resolution.

Best,

L.

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WRITING 175: WHY WE OBJECT M.

Hiring is always a nasty game, especially when you have a huge committee, such as our 12 members one. For whatever reason, the outside members wanted to impose new candidates on the shortlist our group proposed. Here is the response drafted from M.E.

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Dear Colleagues,

It is our SC group decision that M should not receive further consideration.

There is no question that M is a serious researcher. The question is where he fits in. M’s record reveals that his focus is the methodology of optimization, not much the substance of SC. So his best fit is ORIE, in business school.

Since M applied for the business school position, we must evaluate him as such. A commonly used measure for business school research is UTD list. On that account, he does not make the cut.

The bottom line is, if M. were applying for Economics/Engineering, we’d vote YES. But for business school? NO.

We respect other committee members opinions, and we expect the same from others.

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[SLICED SKY, RED ROCK CANYON, LAS VEGAS, NV, SUMMER, 2014]

WRITING 166: GAMES WE PLAY, 8

Here is the background of the story.

The boss is playing delaying tactic. But I had enough. Here are the exchanges.

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Dear Y,

I hate to bother you again with this trivial issue. But, for planning, I do need to know my teaching load. I wonder what is the latest time I can hear back from you.

Best,

L.
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Hi L,

I am traveling until next week, and so have not had time to look into your contract. I will look into this when I go back.  Also, the school is in the process of coming up with a new work/teaching load policy. Depending on the new policy, your contract concern may become a non-issue.

Thank you for your patient.

Y.
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Dear Y,

Regarding my teaching, there are only two sentences in the contract. And they are written in simple, plain English. For your reference, here is the contract.

Also, the contract and the school policy are two separate issues. In particular, the new school policy can only affect future teaching load, not this year’s (15/16). But my contract specifies the teaching load since July 1, 2015.

So I hope to hear back from you next week.

Have a nice trip.

L.

2016-02-29 11.55.48

WRITING 164: COMMITMENT, GAMES WE PLAY, 7

Yesterday we got R&R on BAR paper, a good news. But BE is unlikely to work on it. To motivate him,  I must draw the line, committing not to work it. Otherwise, BE will never work on it. Hopefully, the fear of letting me down can motivate him. If not, I will cut BAR as a sunk cost.

Either way,  I won’t waste time on BAR any more.

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Dear B,

This email is between you and me.

My gut feeling is that we hit the same guy as AE. The reports are written in the same style.

I believe DE liked the idea. Also, he has good impression of us, from our efforts in the last two rounds of the Markov chain paper.  But he cannot go against all the naysayers. So we must do more to prove our worth.

At this point, you and me have two papers at MS; they are promising but time consuming. The choice is clear: if you want it, you must put in effort, do what it takes, and go beyond what’s required.

I have time for only one such commitment. I will focus on the revision of the last paper (Markov chain). I will NOT spend time on this one: I believe in you and PA.

You have my word—I will deliver my revision in two months. And I expect the same commitment from your side.

Best,

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WRITING 163: GAMES WE PLAY, 6

You must set the boundary for your life. People are remarkably adaptive. If you don’t plan your life, others will.

Here is an example. I have the TYM project with a senior MG: the only thing he did was checking the grammars. Yet, because I willingly played the role of juniors, the normal game between seminar and junior workers, MG played his part to: they say they have great expectation of you. What they really mean is that  they will do almost nothing but want to slave you.

So I decided to reset the expectation by playing the game a bit differently. Here is the series of email exchanges in the last a few days.

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Hey, L – just checking in. Paper was to go out in Nov, Dec, Jan… Almost March!

We going to get it under submission?
M.G.

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Dear M,

I have several pending revision going on. So I won’t be able to work on it for at least a month.

If you are in the hurry, here is the latest version that you can work on.

Best,

L.

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I haven’t heard from him since. Expectation reset?

A side note. In signaling games, actions must be credible in order to signal (often go with costs others are unwilling to bear). The purpose is to change/sharpen the belief of the rival. Maybe this is the underlying logic for my action.

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WRITING 158: GAMES WE PLAY, 5

DESPITE MY CONTRACT FOR 4, THE BOSS HAS UNILATERALLY INCREASED MY WORKLOAD TO 4.5 FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS. THIS IS BLATANT BULLY: HE KNOWS I AS JUNIOR CANNOT ARGUE AGAINST THIS INJUSTICE.

BUT NOW IT IS A DIFFERENT TIME. I HAVE MY SECURITY AND I WON’T PUT UP WITH THE BULLY ANY LONGER. ALSO, NOW IS A GOOD TIMING. ALREADY, HE IS CHARGED FOR SEVERAL VIOLATIONS. LACK OF SUPPORT, HE IS IN A PRECARIOUS STATE, WORRYING THAT HE MAY LOSE THE POSITION. SO, PUT IN HIS SHOES, THE LAST THING HE WANTS IS ANOTHER COMPLAINT/CHARGE FILED AGAINST HIM.

OF COURSE, HE MAY STILL PLAY NASTY. AFTER ALL, HE HATES ME SINCE DAY ONE. THE WORST OUTCOME IS THAT HE REFUSES, FOR HE DOES NOT WANT TO LOOK WEAK STILL. AGREEING ON MY TERM WILL ANGER THE REST: AFTER ALL, WHY THEY SHOULD TEACH 4.5?

BUT HE WILL ALSO HAVE TO CONSIDER, WITH FAIR CERTAINTY, THIS TIME I WILL NOT LET IT GO WITHOUT PUTTING UP A FIGHT—I WILL SURELY FILE THE CHARGE, THE ACTION I AM READY TO TAKE.

WITH THAT CONVICTION, I EMAIL HIM TODAY. NOW THE BALL IS IN HIS COURT. LET’S SEE HOW HE PLAYS THE GAME.

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DEAR Y,

I HOPE YOU ARE DOING WELL.

I AM WRITING REGARDING MY TEACHING LOAD. MY CONTRACT SPECIFIES THAT

“YOUR TEACHING LOAD WILL CONSIST OF THREE QUARTER COURSES IN THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF YOUR APPOINTMENT AND FOUR QUARTER COURSES BEGINNING IN YOUR THIRD YEAR WITH SUBSEQUENT REVIEW OF TEACHING LOAD AT EACH MERIT REVIEW.”

THE UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN ME AND THEN DEAN DS IS THAT, AS LONG AS I PASS MY MERIT REVIEW, MY TEACHING LOAD REMAINS FOUR.

SINCE I GOT MY PROMOTION (EFFECTIVE FROM JULY 1, 2015), ACCORDING TO THE CONTRACT, MY TEACHING LOAD SHOULD BE 4, NOT 4.5, FROM YEAR 15/16 TILL NEXT MERIT REVIEW. I HOPE THE SCHOOL MAKE THE CORRECTION.

YOUR CONSIDERATION IS MUCH APPRECIATED.

BEST REGARDS,

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[KEY WEST, FL, MARCH 2015]