…and part of why I used to start shaking when my building on campus came into view.
Scene: Today, my office with me behind schedule, coming from meetings, getting ready for class, not finished grading, trying to make some executive decisions on how, exactly, to handle the six hours of classes I was about to give.
Door (ajar): Knock.
Me, thinking it was a student I could talk to quickly: Adelante.
Extremely Pushy and Many Times Evil Textbook Representative: It has come to my attention that the contract on your basic language textbook, from another publisher, is ending. I am here to discover your requirements in textbooks so that I can make suggestions to you.
Me: The faculty has not even talked about meeting to discuss the question of contract renewal and I will not now discuss this matter with you or with any other representative. The last time we chose a textbook I was interested in one from a different company and you insisted I tell you why. I explained politely and listened politely to your spiel, and then said no, I would not commit, to you, then and there, to change my list of suggested textbooks or move yours to first place on it.
You, then, went and told the other faculty that I had made a decision I was going to impose and would be able to impose due to my tenured status and my state of non-war with the department chair. These faculty members then went to the department chair and said that I was planning to impose a book. I then got a visit and a very worried letter from this department chair, and there was much that had to be clarified. I learned from this that I am better not to disclose my views to you, even for the sake of polite conversation.
I am very uncomfortable with the idea that I should discuss matters internal to this unit with you before I do so with my colleagues, and with your self appointment as message bearer among us. Therefore please do not attempt to pump me for information. If you have a book to promote later on we may hear your presentation but you are not a member of this department and once again, I do not intend to hash this decision out with you, but with my colleagues.
Whiteman: It is part of your job to help the textbook representative do her job by entertaining her visits to your office. She has a job to do, too, and a right to do it.
Professor Zero: Not at my expense or at the expense of this unit, she does not. I will not relinquish the right to discuss professional decisions with colleagues before I do salespeople, I am very sorry.
You have no idea how terrorized I used to be by the situation of which this event is a symptom, and it would be indiscreet to explain. It makes no sense at all to me now that the situation could have been real but two people did not make tenure and two others were not promoted because of it, which shows that the repercussions were real for other people besides me.
I really, really dislike invasive people.