I am thinking about going to a specialty meeting this summer (registration is now). One of the things about being an olde farte, is I have some fiscal leeway to pay to go to meetings in Europe that I didn’t when I was younger. I have friends in various European cities, and they are not getting younger (80’s). Summer in Europe is always nice.
The other aspect about which I have become more adult (although truly, never completely, sigh), is that I don’t mind if I’m not invited to the meeting as one of The Invited Big Dogs. I do good work, and either I will meet potential collaborators and get stimulated or I won’t. That’s up to me.
So I was talking to my colleague, Mark, who is organizing the meeting, and he started talking about past ones (this is third iteration). He mentioned that Jane, a wannabe BSD in my subdiscipline (I hesitate to call her a colleague) attends this meeting. He then recounted the story of Jane at the last two meetings. At the first she talked for 30 min in a 20 min slot, and in the second, when my friend was the session chair, she got to 25min. Before anyone gets all medieval on my ass about it’s the session chair’s responsibility to cut off speakers, its kinda hard for a junior person to cut off a BSD in full flower. Mark went on to add that the organizer/chair/Pooh-Bah of the meeting had just gone over by 5 minutes right before. He felt he was in a very uncomfortable position.
People who take extra time for their talk are possibly some of the most arrogant goats in science. They count on junior people not cutting them off. Time at a meeting session is a zero-sum game. If you take more time, it comes out of someone else’s question time, it comes out of the break (a critical time for youngers to go and talk to everyone and anyone about their stuff), or it comes out of drinks at the end of the day. Your work, no your talking about your work, is more important than my scotch? I don’t think so.