Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gives New Meaning to Work/Life Balance

We have a homeless graduate student living in the building.

The top floor of my building has only one room - a conference room. Hardly anyone goes up there, they tend to use conference rooms on the second floor. But one professor is currently writing a grant, and he needs peace and quiet and PEOPLE PLEASE LEAVE HIM ALONE kind of space.

So he's taken to writing in the top floor.

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that the conference room also has a kitchen attached to the back of it, and a bathroom with shower behind that. Don't ask me why, ask the inscrutable wisdom of the original designers who also designed the building to HAVE NO RAMPS into it. Which might be useful when MOVING EQUIPMENT.

Ahem. I digress.

The past few days, perhaps for the past week, the professor has arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7am to write his grant. Laptop gripped to his side, he waits for the doors to the elevator to open (what, you think he walked six flights?). The doors slide apart, to reveal the immediate tripping hazard of a graduate student lying in front of the conference room door.

"Just catching a couple winks," the student blearily mumbles. (I kid you not, this actual quote comes straight from the professor).

Caught off guard, or perhaps just too far gone into the grant writing process to care about students anymore, the professor can't summon anything more than a brisk "hello." Then, a dismissive step over the prone body of the student into the conference room.

If I were the student, I might be miffed. I think this one was just a bit embarrassed.

To the student's credit, he is probably only between apartments or something for a short time. Nobody knows who he is, but he did pick the best spot to be homeless (given the kitchen and shower and all). He's always gone during the day, but must make it back at night, because the professor wakes him up in the morning.

So what is the proper protocol for this? How long should this go on before someone is notified? Who do you even notify for this? Should I care? Should I go out of my way to meet this student just for the novelty of it?


  1. offer them a air matress or a couch

  2. don't be a dick. I've been in a similar situation and wouldn't want someone to make my life even more miserable