Sorry about this everyone. Please put on your rant-proof clothing before reading this. No worries about replying - though if you have any ideas for a good come back I'd be grateful!
I am SO angry with my housemate. I share a house with someone who works a nine to five in a job that he likes - fine, good for him. I would never suggest that what he does is less valuable and worthwhile than what I do. But he doesn't seem to feel the same way. I am getting sick of all the little put downs! If he comes home from work early for some reason and I'm not working (never mind that I might work in the evening when he's out) he gives me a "living the life of leisure still?" look. He lectures me and my fellow PhDs about working methods. If he sees any of us working at unusual times he makes a comment about us having left everything to the last minute. If I want to work in my PJs in the morning before having a shower he'll ask me in the evening what time I got up or whether I had a late one the previous night! And he gets upset that when I'm working at home I don't seem to have time to do the housework as well. That's because I'm WORKING, WORKING, get it?! Yes I mess around on the internet during the day, yes I procrastinate, yes I'm sometimes up against a deadline - but how long does he spend chatting at work, sitting daydreaming in meetings, and looking at quizzes on round robin emails?????? This is a real job I do. It's a difficult job. It doesn't necessarily involve orthodox working methods and hours but that doesn't give you the right to treat me like a worthless person!!!!
Phew... again, sorry - I just need to get this out. :-s
I can totally empathise with you Florence. I don't expect people to bow down at my feet when I say I'm doing a PhD but the dismissiveness (if that's a word!) and general rudeness of some people is so annoying. I think the problem is that people see it as just an extension of a degree- if they know what it is at all! My flatmate's boyfriend was once asking me about it, and then said 'God, I though students just went out on the piss all the time'. Maybe they do, but I'm NOT an undergrad student anymore! I also get a lot of people asking how my degree is going, or my Masters. Obviously I'm not knocking people who are doing those things, but I'm not and I've been through all that (well, apart from the masters lol).
A friend who I used to live with left uni and now works as a secretary. I would never dream of making a dig about that, even though its not what she wants to do and she doesn't enjoy it. But she seems to be constantly trying to prove how busy she is now she has a 'real job'. I remember meeting her for lunch one day and she was talking about how she thought she was going to be late because her flatmate was still in the shower at 11.30. She then hurriedly said 'I mean, not that I didn't get up until 11 or anything, no I get up so early now.' I just thought, AND?! Am I meant to be impressed that you have to get up early to go to a job you hate?!
You know what, I think we SHOULD just start saying something. When he comes home, say 'Home already? You're so lucky. I've been working all day and still have so much to do. It must be so easy having a regular job.' :p
I think it's something you just have to get used to. I've been getting all this grief off my mates throughout my PhD. The thing with a PhD is that it's something that you don't understand unless you've been through it, and not many people have. They assume it's like an undergrad degree, where some courses allow you free time, which gives students a bad name.
At the moment (and for the last year) I've been working 70+ hours a week. Most of my mates with "proper jobs" work half that. I just point this out to them and have resigned myself to the fact that they'll never understand.
You know I think I get more comments like this from my college friends than my non-college friends... Like if I work at home for a day and then go back into the library the next day they'll be like "oh did you have a lovely day OFF yesterday?" Yes, working on your thesis for 14 hours a day is just heaven when you're at home... not!!!
Florence, given your flatmate's comments, it would seem the green-eyed monster is at work here.
When people bitch and moan to me about their jobs which they hate and they work long hours in (generally if they work past 5.30!!!) and say how lucky I am to just be a student I ask them why they are not doing a PhD. Seriously, if what we're doing is so great, why aren't they doing it? Normally they get all uncomfortable.
Generally though, I only get those kinds of comments from acquaintances. My friends just see it as a massive undertaking which means I cancel nights out at last minute once a month or so!
Try to stay calm!
I get the same exact treatment as a Phd student who is currently on a full scholarship. My partner (whose family constantly pressures him to work outside of school even though they are 100x more well off than I am) would constantly ask me when I plan on getting a 'job' and tells people I never held a 'real' job. Yet, I see my full scholarship AS payment for my work. His parents don't really see that and probably think that I am lazy and do not want to get my 'hands dirty' like a 'regular' person.
Ah Florence, taking it too much to heart!
If getting a grant or some govt. funding, next time heading out for a pint, just say "Thanks for the pint!" to the numbskull. Laugh it off or even better still, play along ... next put-down actually agree with him and make his argument look stupid ( a la Steve Martin in Roxanne). You don't need to explain yourself to anyone.
I would put his work down continuously until he starts to feel the same way.. It sounds harsh and juvenile but some people don't get what they say is pretty stupid until they get slapped in the face with a giant metaphorical mackeral a few hundred times.
Failing that...insist he calls you DR! You might not have the PhD yet but he doesn't need to know the title doesn't apply yet ;D
Some ideas for come-backs (and let's be honest, that's what you really need here):
Next time office-boy comes out with some snide remark...
- Tell him you didn't realise he worked on a f**king oil-rig / down a f**king mine / as a f**king chimney-sweep, etc.
- Ask him when he's due to appear on "The Apprentice", spouting bollocks about pitches, profit margins, and other such shite
- Congratulate him for single-handedly liberating Helmand Province from the clutches of the Taleban
- Tell him that scouring Facebook looking for girls he "remembers" (on a nightly basis) doesn't constitute work
- Ask him whether in his entire working life, he has done anything even remotely original
- Ask him about his company's mission statement / brand values / whatever, then laugh in his embarrassed face
- Offer an improvised critique of Real Jobs, by referring to your arse
- Tell him that technically, he's not actually a human being
....You get the idea. Don't hold back. You don't owe anybody an explanation. F**k 'em.
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