What do you get when you get 15 experts in a room?
A room not big enough?
hahahaha….academic humor. Pretty cheesy. As a new faculty, you’ll be inundated with folks who are like and opposite minded with vast experiences that are simliar to yours or different. This can make for some great interactions or some super awkward ones.
There’s always one guy….(or girl)…..who can be labeled as “the know it all” though. Super knowledgeable, well read, a theory base that will baffle you, and just enough confidence to speak up. every. single. time. I found myself in a room with one of these people (who was incidentally male-hence calling him ‘that guy’)
What do you do with that person? Before I go any further, let me say this: this guy is very smart. He is very well read. His attention to detail was impressive and his ability to digest information and synthesize was amazing to me. Meeting him in person was great, sitting on a committee with him was great, but being around him for 36 solid hours was overwhelming….exhausting…..and in the end: humbling. There’s a reason he’s a young front runner in my field, he knows his stuff.
How to handle him was another situation. He did get a bit ahead of himself from time to time. He did demand the floor many times. He also got shut down a few times and he was speechless at one point too. The humbling and lesson learned part is this: we know our field, it’s the surprises that we can’t ever know exactly how to respond too.
At one point, another committee member was speaking and even shut the guy down stating, “let me finish first.” Well done sir. Point taken.
How do you know it all without acting like you know it all?
There is a fine line of balance. knowing when to speak and when to hold off. Is less more? Not to some! As a new faculty you’ll be put in those situations and deciding to find your voice or be a spectator can be a tough call. I chose to pick my battles. Not over talk, but also don’t be ignored. Make sure you’re heard without becoming “that guy…”