Sunday, June 13, 2010


There is that thing, that thing we call collegiality. I cannot provide a decent definition. I mean something along the lines of “mutually supportive interaction among colleagues” would vaguely suffice- but not really. It also includes the simple ability of not being annoying, of not stinking up the department with your food smells, owning books that are worth borrowing and being willing to lend them out, and supplying me with university letterhead when I run out and am too lazy to walk downstairs and get some. We don’t have to like each other (like in the sense of real friendliness, the not in the “not like, like” definition). In fact as long as we can interact calmly, we can despise each other and still be collegial. But what do you call that other facet of work colleague relations? Their collegiality outside of work? You know? If you think about the colleagues that you never want to see socially and the ones you do, it’s because they have very different non-work collegiality scores. It’s more like collegeniality.

Collegeniality is the ability to pleasantly engage in non-work related interactions in non-work related environments. High scoring colleagues are those who you can run into at mutual friends dinner parties (RFDPs) and not cringe. You won’t regret having brought a 24-pack of PBR to RFDPs with these folks. Sometimes you run into them at the movies, and even though you got all fucked up because Get Him to the Greek seemed like it would be a shit-ton funnier with a little “help” you don’t mind because your collegenial colleague is in a similar state. You can also identify your collegenial colleagues in the drug aisle of your local grocer at 1:38AM. If you can comfortably make eye contact while dressed in some combination of sleepwear, outerwear, and long underwear selecting the most powerful narcotic-like substances you can buy without a prescription so you can spend your days with the flu alternating between sleeping and hallucinating, then you’ve met a collegenial colleague. Collegiality and collegeniality are distinct qualities that must not be confused or merged. They do not correlate.

One can be extremely collegenial even though they never show up to meetings on time or answer motherfucking obviously important emails. Likewise, one can be extremely collegial even though they insist on assaulting you with details of their obviously horrible design plans of their obviously horribly designed house every damn time you see them. I’ve created a word, collegenial, so that those of us with colleagues who don’t understand these differences can figure it out, add it to your vocabulary please.


  1. <scribbles in vocabulary book>

    So noted!

  2. Love it, describes my lunch buddies perfectly. :)

  3. You made Around the Web again, Dr. No! Damn, your famous;-)

  4. Yep, I'm just kickin' it in my Inside Higher Ed provided 5 star hotel suite right now...Word up.

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