Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wine and the university--who picks up the tab?

Busy week.  Graded 48 papers over two days.  Taught, sat on an honors thesis defense, met with students, finished making a quiz, all with 4 hours of sleep the night before. 

That wore me out for the next day, which is just as well, since I had to spend 7am-12noon reading and sitting on a dissertation defense.  Thankfully, it was a fabulous dissertation and defense.  Somebody better hire him soon.  He really is good.

I hope I'm recharged enough by tomorrow to finish that paper and SEND IT OUT.  This will be harder than it otherwise would be, since I am going to dinner with an invited speaker and several faculty tonight, late, 7:30.  Late for me anyways.  I am counting on having wine at dinner--will make talking to mostly humanities faculty easier.  I like humanities faculty one on one, but in a group it is sometimes hard for me to connect (or understand what they're talking about).

I'm at a public university.  The university will pick up the tab for the food and non-alcohol drinks, but we have to pay for our own alcohol.  Awkward with guests, as we never seem to arrange ahead of time about how to contribute $ towards the guest's booze and who will pay that bill.  We don't want them to pay for their own drinks, of course.  In our system, others at the table have to foot the bill for the guest's drinks.  I find that many grad students and faculty don't know that this is the case at some universities--I certainly didn't. 

So if you are a candidate for a job, think twice before you order (like my friend from graduate school did) a double Johnny Walker on the rocks.  Actually, there are many reasons why you might not want to do that.

The two big public universities I've worked for don't pay for alcohol, period.  How does it work at other colleges?  Any pointers for people on the job market on ordering a drink at dinner?  Don't do it? Wait to see if others are drinking, and what they are drinking? 


  1. My department pays for alcohol on a separate tab, out of an account that is not directly funded by the university (think alumni donations). I think other departments make similar arrangements. Watch what other people are doing, and do as they do. Also, you don't have to finish whatever you order: you can get a glass of wine to look companionable but just sip slowly. When I'm on dinner interviews, I usually get a glass of wine so that the candidate can feel free to have a drink if it's wanted, but I drink about half because I have to drive home.

  2. Our university pays for nothing, for anyone! When a job candidate comes, they are told: make sure you keep receipts! They're tax deductible! It doesn't matter if we're on a search committee. We pay for everything ourselves...

  3. People refuse to get this stuff, I find. We can sometimes pay for food for guests. Period. I am now too broke to cover for them as I used to do out of embarrassment to be working at a place this cheap. So now I tell them. I accepted the university's offer of a 0% credit card - you can pay over about 6 weeks, so you split your costs for a candidate visit or speaker visit over 2 months' checks. I am burned that the assistant professors believe (insist upon believing) that they cannot get such cards, and that the university pays the bill. I am tired of their being mad that I do not also pay for their meals.