Should I blog anonymously? Seems dangerous to say these things as me, wanna-be Professor of strategy. I could get fired (unlikely) or denied tenure (possible) for saying these horrid rude bitter things….like going to a wedding ceremony with smiling hosts and bringing in a pile of shit and placing it on the clean white cloth. The guests at this event, is it their fault, that they fit in and I don’t? It’s not their fault they found me outside looking into the party inside and were kind enough to invite me. And did I care much about class as an upper-class woman in India? No. Indeed, I remember spouting some nonsense about the government handouts given to lazy moochers. Hierarchy is a problem for me, it appears, only when I am towards the bottom of it. And these people, my colleagues, did I say bad things about them? And if I did, ‘tis not even fair what I said, and ‘tis not even true. My ire, my anger, is not about them, these are kind people, who took me in, and helped me, and guided me, and like me as one-of-their-own. No it is not them. They are me and I am them, at least most of the time.
My anger, my hatred is born of a thousand small bitter things, adding one upon another over 15 years, mementos of my career. Sharp, spiky things. Like walking into a conference event, for perhaps the hundredth time, and finding crowds of suited people, and only one approachable, a small Chinese woman as alone as me, a PhD student new to the field. Or looking straight at any security guard I walk past since I think they think that I might have stolen something but thieves don’t typically look people in the eye, I’ve read somewhere. Or when I am mistaken, for the hundredth time, to be a PhD student or an MBA student, by colleagues, students, administration, hitchhikers, neighbors, visa officials, everyone. It was flattering the first 50 times – the look of surprise when I said I-am-Prof, but after that, it is shaming – like a servant girl caught wearing her employer’s clothes. Like when I email some executive using my office email and they respond with deference-obsequiousness to this prof-in-HEC, and then I meet them in person, and inevitably, the deference vanishes replaced with “are you a Phd student?”, and a sense that I somehow cheated them. Or when my students just cannot believe that a core strategy course is being taught by someone-so-implausible, but they can’t put their finger on what exactly is wrong with me – maybe it is the content? Not really, the content is great. Maybe if I was more forceful. No, not really, no one wants a forceful Asian woman. Maybe, if I was just someone else, someone-more-plausible. But the worst is when fellow-researchers, like that guy from LBS, the Indian quant guy, or that one from INSEAD, the network guy, react with cold-hard-hate, looking away at anything other than me, moving one chair away in the round-table discussion (maybe-I-smell?). I don’t even know these people. What could I have done to earn this hate? I rack my brains, anger and despair warring within. Are they psychopaths? But they seem to get along fine with Adam-with-the-three-A-pubs.
Is it fair to use sometimes as examples my poor colleagues to make my case, just because this is where I am now, and I am writing this now because my friend suggested a blog, and I see everything now from this prism of hard-sharp memories? If my colleagues saw this, what would they think? They’d be hurt-surprised I think. And more instrumentally, if someone finds this, will I be able to find another job in a business school? Probably not since business schools are race-class-gender neutral zones where these petty-whiny-loser grievances don’t exist. So why do I want my name, my real name, to be on this? A death-wish perhaps, because I don’t want to be scared-little-girl, or maybe because I want an excuse for not succeeding in this my chosen battleground. Then I can say, with some earnestness, that I failed because of an honest blog, not because I am really not old-white-man-classical-scholar-Granovetter material, and then hand over the household reins back to my IIM-husband who always was much better at this breadwinner business.