Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Refuse to Be Impressed With You

I have one classmate I really dislike working with. I can't put my finger on why I dislike him so much - it's certainly not that he's a bad person, or doesn't try to contribute, or be involved.

He's got a different background - he finished his Master's in engineering about ten years ago, left to go into finance, and now is coming back. He says he wants to "make a difference in the world" or some such lovey-dovey like that. I don't believe him. I suspect he was fired when the finance industry crashed in the last year or two.

He says that he ran three of his own companies, ran his own hedge fund, and didn't lose any money in the stock market crash. Now he claims that he is almost done with his thesis even though he doesn't even have a committee yet (or PASSED QUALS, which I hear is necessary). In the past year he claims he has solved "three or four or five" major problems in his area of study even though, according to him, "most PhD projects only focus on one project." His contributions to group conversations aren't helpful. He takes it upon himself to "update the professor on our progress" even though he has no idea what the current status of the project is (given that we actual engineers have been working without him, as it's more efficient that way - he can't do CAD, can't machine, and can't make drawings).

Maybe my own bias against business people is coming in here. I have found that it is typical business student behavior to talk a big game and do nothing real. I think this guy is used to impressing everybody, is used to being important, and has come to believe that he actually is more important than us.

So here's my entirely illogical rant: No, buddy, sorry, I don't trust your engineering competence. Your ideas aren't any good, I think you've lost your technical expertise (if you had any - did you go to Wall Street because you couldn't hack engineering work?) while you worked in finance. I suspect your job there consisted of a lot of pushing buttons and making powerpoints, so I don't blame you for being bored and coming back to grad school. But your life experience doesn't NECESSARILY make you wiser than I am (although you may be), you are just old. You are not helpful to me, and I don't believe that you are all as amazing as you think you are.

I just am not impressed, and I think he's not used to people being unimpressed.

Whew! And of course I am sure not all of that is true, but it's how he makes me feel. How arrogant I sound, goodness! I'm usually never this judgmental about people, he just rubs me SO the wrong way. Can't even explain what it is.

Actually I had a labmate refer to him the other day as, "that kid I hate," and I was surprised because the labmate doesn't work with him or even have class with him. Turns out my labmate just overheard our group meeting, and was somehow so turned off by the ridiculousness of his suggestions, and his overbearing, know-it-all nature, that my labmate took an instant dislike. So it's not just me. :)


  1. I have one of those exact guys as a classmate too! He drives me crazy and he never shuts up!! He was in industry for a while before going to school for his PhD and always talks about how he basically invented X and knows everything. Funny how X got someone else a Nobel prize and not him. What is even funnier is that this classmate of mine also wants to go into business so I think it just takes those kind of people to want to do that job. For some reason, he always reminds me of a used car salesman.

  2. You totally have the right to judge people for being hypocritical and incompetent. At least, that's my two cents. You don't need to defend yourself for not liking someone or thinking that they're full of crap, that's your right. Sometimes people just suck, hahaha, and someone has to call them on it!