Friday, April 20, 2012

The squeaky wheel gets the most oil

If you want someone else to do something then the reality is the more you are in their presence the more likely they are to act on it. Everyone is busy and has many people trying to get their attention. I think this is particularly true of technical staff and many faculty, particularly those with a lot of admin responsibility. Hence, depending on how urgent your request stopping by someones office every day (every couple of hours?) is a good idea. Of course, you have to be careful not to be too pushy that they get turned off and will drag their feet. But this is also why physical presence is better than email because you can sense their mood.

So, don't assume that just because you emailed a request a week ago they are working on it. They are probably working on the request of the last person who walked into their office.

I believe this can be a difficult issue for people from non-Western countries. It can be quite hard for international students to be so demanding. However, the painful reality is that if they are not making polite regular requests for attention they may just get neglected.

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