Business Communication/My Rude Professor


I'm a junior in college, and as a science major, I work on two research projects, each with a different professor. I am equally devoted to each, and I have purposefully divided my time and energy equally among both. I love both projects and they are both succeeding, but one of my professors continually makes remarks that belittle my other research. I applied for a summer stipend for my other project and received the grant, and rather than being happy for me, he told me I needed to "get my priorities in order", and has been very condescending about it. His tone and nonverbals make his position very clear that he doesn't like this arrangement. It seems to be everyone who is working with these two professors has this issue. He seems insecure about how many researchers he has, and how easily this comes to my other professor. I still have to take classes with him, and I don't want to have bad blood between us. I love my research with him, and I want it to continue, I just want him to respect all of my work, not only what I do for him. How do I approach this issue?

Dear Cassara,

You describe a difficult, but commonplace situation, both in academia and in life. You are clear-sighted enough already to realize that you are not likely to please “Rude Professor” unless you drop your other interests.

My suggestion is that you let go of the need for Rude Professor’s approval of your other projects. Instead, focus on your project with him. Show him your seriousness and ongoing commitment. Continue to do your best work and recognize that you are learning from him about the human side of scientific work. The most gifted scientist may not score well as a warm, supportive human being.

Above all, avoid taking his attitude to heart. You will meet others like this as you move forward in your career. Consider yourself lucky to learn such a valuable lesson so early in your studies.

Good luck!  

Business Communication

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Maureen A. Jung, Ph.D.


I can answer questions related to: What to do--and what not to do--in business communication. Tips for more effective communication in print, on paper, in person, and via electronic media. Grammar, punctuation, and tone-related questions. How to Say ‘No’ without negativity. How to plan, format, write, and review your messages, letters, articles, etc.


More than 20 years' experience as a communication consultant, business writer, editor, communication trainer, and writing group leader. I've provided communication training workshops, seminars, and writing services to businesses and organizations for more than 25 years, and edited and/or researched 15 non-fiction books for other authors. I've been a columnist and contributing writer to many publications, wrote a successful $15-million health care grant for a nonprofit organization, and wrote two White House presentations.

Florida Writer's Assn.; Clay County Writers, Writing Group Leader; American Business Women's Assn.; Medical Managers of Northeast Florida; Law Office Support (Jacksonville, FL)

Comstock's Business Magazine, California History, Living Blues Magazine, American Archivist, Sacramento Business Journal, Sutter/Yuba Business Journal, California Mining Review, Red Voices, Insurgent Sociologist, Social Forces, Sacramento News and Review, Coastlines, Sociological Spectrum, etc. In 2009, I wrote the book: Many Pathways: Planting Seeds for Communities in Recovery (2009).

B.A. Sociology, Colorado State University M.A., Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara Fellow of the South Coast Writing Project since 1984, a think tank for writing teachers affiliated with the National Writing Project Post-graduate studies in history and archives, California State University, Sacramento

Awards and Honors
Charles Spaulding Research Prize, University of California, Santa Barbara (for my M.A. thesis); Theodore Calvin Pease Award, Society of American Archivists (for an article based on my dissertation research); Invited Contributor, California Sesquicentennial Project, for my article: "Capitalism Comes to the Diggings," published in: A Golden State, Mining and Economic Development in Gold Rush California.

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Huntley, Mullaney, Spargo & Sullivan, Inc.; Cox Ferrall, Sales Wisdom Now!; Groeteke Resources, Jacksonville; California Mining Assn.; Central Valley Rock, Sand & Gravel Assn.; Sacramento City University; SolutionsWest, ITEX Corporation; Dr. Wilson C. Riles; Capital Program Management; Small Business Resource Center, Inc.; Vanir Construction Management; Prime Time Boxing; California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc.; Trumbull Insurance Agency, etc.

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