Sunday, September 02, 2012

If you must be a grasping machiavel, be better at it

Something I knew long before my most recent publishing disappointment:

You should not list, on a C.V. that you post publicly and that you point everyone toward (via your Facebook page, your faculty profile page, etc.), the specific press with which your book is currently under review.

You should especially not do this if you're a famously ambitious young scholar who regularly burns bridges and dicks people over in outrageous, gossip-producing ways.

Because there are people out there who will check up on your career from time to time. Some of them may wish you well, but others will fear or envy or flat-out despise you.

And all of those people will notice when Fancy Press A and Fancy Press B are no longer the places where your book is "under full review," but are replaced in that vita line by a third wishful-hopeful prospective publisher.

It's not that I don't appreciate the opportunity to indulge in a little schadenfreude at the expense of someone who shat on a friend of mine. But I'm pretty sure you don't actually wish for every person you've ever met to have access to the details of your professional setbacks.

This has been a public service announcement.


Comrade Physioprof said...

Hahahahahah. Schadenfreude kickes motherfucken asse!

moria said...

Your post's title promises a thinly-veiled allegorical farce of morals in which said perpetrator is exposed and then theatrically punished. Flavia. I am disappointed.

And I also affirm your schadenfreude. It can be such a healthy affect. (Or: what CPP said.)

Doctor Cleveland said...

Don't think I don't know this post is about me.


Flavia said...

N.B. I will neither confirm nor deny that an actual, specific individual inspired this post. But if some one person did, it's no one I went to grad school with and no one in my field. I've just long been fascinated by incompetent machiavels.

And my point about the unwisdom of bragging about shit you can't yet brag about holds good for everyone.

Sisyphus said...

Ooh, I hope it's that one person I know of! /unholy glee.

EngLitProf said...

Flavia, let me commend you for refusing to italicize or capitalize “schadenfreude,” as some people persist in doing. The words that denote the most natural and necessary joys of life should be naturalized into American English if they haven’t been already. It would be really pathetic if we were to admit repeatedly that we must draw upon another language’s resources to name one of the pleasures that make life worth living.

And while I have no idea who you are writing about, I am pretty sure I would feel the same way if I knew the whole story.

Flavia said...


It's so nice to be understood.

Withywindle said...

I think I have sometimes schadengoogled, malicious freude on my mind.

Susan said...

I wish to thank Flavia for a good laugh at the beginning of the day, and Withywindle for the word schadengoogle, which is just awesome - and ELP would never have to worry about anyone capitalizing it, as it's a good English word!

This is a new hazard of the Internet world.

Flavia, I want you to know that autocorrect wanted you to be Flavian.

Comrade Physioprof said...

I think I have sometimes schadengoogled, malicious freude on my mind.

Love it! Over the years I have occasionally schadengoogled some of the faculty who were hired instead of me in searches I was competitive for and amused myself with the poor predictive abilities of those search committees.

Historiann said...

The one good thing I can say about incompetent machiavels is that they far outnumber the competent ones. (And they're also laff riots, too, natch, so that's two good things.)

Schadengoogle away, friends!

Dr. Koshary said...

I feel terribly self-conscious right now. I recently added my manuscript under review to my CV, on the advice of my grad school mentors. I didn't include it in my CV during the past job cycle, and everyone up to and including my interviewers-turned-colleagues at CBU thought I was nuts for leaving it off.

Now I'm trying to think: have I dicked over any colleagues lately? (Hell, have I even had the power to do so?)


Renaissance Girl said...

Another cheer for "schadengoogle," and for Flavia's good advice. (Though I immediately looked at my faculty webpage to make sure that no such damning information occurs there or anywhere else under my control....)

Flavia said...

Dr. K:

The key item here is "public C.V." (and, secondarily, "name of press"). You should definitely list your MS, and where it's under which stage of review, on any documents you submit for hiring, renewal, etc.; that's important information for a hiring or review committee to have, as it tells them both how close to done the book is and what caliber of press is interested in it.

But a public C.V., accessible by anyone who types your name into Google, is another matter. I do list, on my public C.V. (the one on my faculty webpage and at the fact that I HAVE a completed, full-length MS currently out for review, since that's merely useful, factual information about my work. I just don't say where! That's the part that I think is hugely presumptuous (and foolhardy). Being asked to dance isn't a marriage proposal--but some people just can't start bragging too early.

Bardiac said...

Part of the problem today is that a really effective Machiavel needs to be able to leave behind bodies, real bodies, and that's not nearly as easy these days to get away with.

Schadengoogle is a GREAT word!

Anonymous said...

I always thought the word was 'shitted' rather than 'shat' dave.s.

Pamphilia said...

Ohcrapohcrapohcrap. I so totally hope it's not me. I am indeed famously ambitious, but I suck at scheming and we like each other! Right? (This is why I will never be a machiavel. Right?). Anyway I was told at least six months ago that one should never, ever list the press at which one's manuscript is under review on a CV at all. And so I made sure not to. But then I stooopidly forgot to update my old online CV to which I had included that information, possibly in a fit of confusion after one positive report. So I just deleted the whole thing. Not that anyone cares and anyway my book is still under review there, but it might very well not be. Good advice, good advice. Whew!

Flavia said...


No, I'm not talking about you (see my N.B., above). And with all due respect, you don't even come close to the person I might or might not have uppermost in my mind.