1.5. COLLEGIALITY 11 1.5 Collegiality In the 1950s, 1960s, and even most of the 1970s, math departments were extraordinarily friendly places. Salaries were low, duties were many, but the attitude was “we’re all in this together”. The lovely book [DAVH] captures the spirit of the camaraderie of the time. It was very common in those days for there to be a colloquium each week, followed by a fairly large and high-spirited colloquium dinner, followed by a party at someone’s house. When I was an Assistant Professor at UCLA we had all these features, often followed by a swim in Richard Arens’s pool. In fact I can recall many a time when, after lunch, one of the guys (and this time I really do mean a guy) would phone home and say, “Hello, dear. Joe Schlomokin from Purdue is in town. He’s giving a talk. Nobody else is giving the party, so I thought we could do it. Could you run to the store and pick up some stuff? Also he needs a place to flop and I told him he could sleep on our sofa. We’ll be going to dinner, and we’ll show up for the party at 8:00 p.m.” Miraculously, the spouse would reply with suitable enthusiasm, and the festivities would begin in due course. Times have changed. Today most spouses work. Many spouses work as academics, and often in the same department as the other spouse. So there are a lot of shared responsibilities: child rearing, cooking, soccer game coaching, and on and on. This means that attendance at colloquium dinners is much thinner. This also means that there is nobody to phone up and tell to go out and pick up stuff for an impromptu party. And so forth. There are very few colloquium parties anymore—except for very distinguished or special guests. In fact two-career couples often make imaginative accommodations to the issues raised in the preceding paragraph. For one thing, planning ahead for parties is much more common. Having cross-disciplinary parties—to honor someone from English at the same time as someone from math—is a new and often pleasing development. Obviously both members of the couple must pitch in for all aspects of the party, or for any other entertaining (dinners, outings, picnics, etc.) that is done. And certainly accommodations must be made for the kids, the pets, or perhaps an aging parent who has become part of the household. Collegiality takes on new meaning, and has new practical significance, when a two-career couple with kids is trying to play the game. It is still of utmost importance to be collegial, to be friends with your colleagues, to
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