The Sassy Scientist – Join the Club?

The Sassy Scientist – Join the Club?

With his dazzling wit, charm and handsome moustache, Groucho has an engagements calendar that would make the most sparkly socialite jealous. He therefore asks:

Should you ever turn down an invited presentation?

Dear Groucho,

If being dead since 1977 isn’t enough to get you out of an awkward invited spot, I recommend you follow your own advice: I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. Not least because a conference full of sassy scientists would be a truly miserable affair.

If this isn’t enough to dissuade you, I recommend answering two questions: “Why am I being asked?” and “What’s in it for me?” before making a decision.

As a white, male American (albeit Jewish) the answer to the first is unlikely to be tokenism. Lucky you! If you hand-on-heart do not believe you were invited for the brilliance of your science, it seems likely that the convenors desire your presence in the pub afterwards. This is not necessarily a negative.

As to the second question, if none of the following options are valid, I really would recommend you decline. Valid reasons to accept may include: it’s an excellent holiday destination; I really want to go to the pub with the convenors; I’m bursting to share my science (really?!); and it’s not going to cost me anything.

If the convenors tell you all exposure is good, they’re lying and have probably already asked everyone else in their contacts list. No one remembers the invited presentation after the first pint.

I hope this truly cynical checklist emboldens you to think critically about your future RSVPs. And never forget to enjoy the ego boost, even if you do decline.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written as procrastination instead of the presentation I was stupid enough not to decline.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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