Kodi Arfer / Wisterwood

Holding your ground vs. giving in

Topic List
#001 | Kodiologist |
I don't know about most people, but I, as an opinionated, stubborn eccentric, find myself with some frequency in situations where other people's expectations of me conflict with my own principles. I then have to make the uncomfortable decision of choosing between the immediate practical consequences of holding my ground and the big-picture ideological consequences of giving in. I don't always choose correctly.

When I was seventeen, I wrote an article about Engrish for my high school's newspaper. I had submitted the article, the editor (another student) had approved it, and everything seemed to be going fine until the last minute, when a teacher demanded I change it because (according to him, who was of Argentinian descent) it was offensive to Japanese people. He told me that I couldn't use the word "Engrish" and that I had to add non-Japanese examples. I told him that I'd rather not publish the article at all than have it censored. He told me that it would be cruel of me to do this because it would force the paper to be laid out all over again. I daresay it was his fault for not reading the article earlier if he had planned on exercising this kind of control over its contents. Anyway, I gave in, and a censored and expanded version of the article was published. I regret this: I shouldn't have associated myself with a student newspaper that only allowed content deemed acceptable by non-students.

I made the opposite mistake—of holding my ground when I should've caved in immediately—at the end of the same academic year, weeks away from graduation, when I was doing a (really, really informal, but mandated by my high school) internship. One of the odd jobs I was given was to trudge through tech support for the company's ISP. It was maddening. When I was done, I asked not to be told to do it again. My superior said, in effect, "We can't have you as an intern if we have to worry about what you're willing to do." I replied, in effect, "If you think that I should be willing to do anything, no questions asked, that's totally unreasonable. I quit." Back at school the following day, a teacher told me in no uncertain terms that no internship meant no diploma, and there were no alternative internships. Lots of crying and screaming later, I found myself slinking back to the company—and they never asked me to deal with their ISP again, nor anything else I really objected to. I might as well have never complained to begin with.

Just to prove that my track record with this sort of thing isn't uniformly horrible, let me also mention an incident that occurred before either of the above, when I was fifteen. My class was required as part of one course to go on a week-long trip to a farm. I knew I wasn't yet emotionally ready to go away from home for that long (yeah, I'm a big baby, so sue me), and I wasn't eager to clean up cow pies, anyway, so I refused. My parents screamed at me and a teacher threatened me with expulsion, but I held firm. My reward was an extra week of vacation immediately preceding spring break (and a C+ or so in the science class associated with the trip; boo-hoo).
#002 | Kodiologist |
Now I'm in another situation of this kind. See, my idea of a good research talk, a summary for an academic audience of one's own recent work, is a presentation that uses few or no slides, spends minimal time on literature review, and represents the data as honestly as possible. My adviser's (and, assumedly, everybody else's) is a talk that uses lots of pictures to break up the monotony, starts at a very broad level of literature review and only gets specific once the original research to be presented is at hand, and represents the data as null-hypothesis significance testing sees it, in black-and-white terms of "it worked" versus "it didn't work". I'm sure to cave in at least a little—my adviser probably knows what other scientists want in a talk a lot better than I do—so the question is just how much I can preserve of my own idea of what science should be. I only wish that being a disciple of wisdom didn't require peddling so many half-truths.

So how about you guys? How have you dealt with these ugly situations?

"Ratio tile, the wish power are together with you."
#003 | LinkPrime1 |
Don't limit yourself to little to know slides, unless you want to intentionally limit the impact your message will have on your audience. Or, you plan on supplementing it with hand-written stuff on a chalkboard or projector or something. The more senses people are exposed to (sight and sound vs just sound), the more impact (longevity) your message will have. If you really want them to remember, make them smell it...but I think if you did that, you'd probably get a Peace Prize or something.

I'm sure I've been in situations similar to yours, but I'm greatly sleep deprived, and I just had a very stressful week, so my mind is...bleh...
Well, there is a new accent of n00b language. It's called: Vet LUEser goes Foreign!-MegaSpy22
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#004 | BUM |
I dunno. I guess it all comes down to, what is the goal of the talk? The talk should be catered to the end goal. If you really don't care about them, and seek mainly to represent yourself and your studies to whoever listens, then represent yourself with the talk. If it's for their benefit, then design it how they (might) find it most beneficial.
#005 | willis5225 |
There are degrees within either option. Since your adviser has a fair amount to say about your future in the field, you should acquiesce some, even if you don't go all the way.
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
#006 | Jacehan |
Compromise. It's pretty much what I always do. That way when I do have something I feel really strongly about, I can stand my ground and have earned the ability to do so easily.
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#007 | willis5225 |
That's a good point. You have more credibility if you start out from a reputation as somebody easy to work with than if you start out as somebody who's hella obstinate.
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.