so we’re hiring in our department right now, which means that we are having several interviewees visit over a couple-week-span. each candidate has one hour set aside when they give a research colloquium, and then there are all sorts of meals and one-on-one meetings and such for them to attend. i’ve been making it a point to schedule a one-on-one with each applicant, and i’ve also been attending each colloquium.
before i go too much further, i should probably note/remind you that my job has absolutely nothing to do with animal rights, agribusiness, the food industry, vivisection, etc. etc. etc. and the position the candidates are all up for has really nothing to do with these things, either. i’m trying to remain vague for obvious reasons but i just want to put it out there: i had NO idea i was in for this when i walked into the room.
i went to today’s colloquium and ended up sitting through an hour-long presentation on a turkey slaughterhouse/packing plant. the gist of the research was on organizational efficiency in high-risk industries (and in this case high-risk referred to food-borne illnesses, contamination, etc.), so i guess i understand the connection, but still. it wasn’t the greatest hour of my life. this investigation focused on one particular processing plant because it is well-known for being a "high quality" slaughterhouse. icky.
the presentation reaffirmed some of the stuff i already knew about slaughterhouses: extremely high turnover rate, no big book o’ policies to follow, lots of poor and/or foreign workers, the whole shebang. one thing i didn’t know until today: part of the line is called evisceration (the part immediately after the killing floor). bleargh.
i promise i didn’t make horrible faces or act like a bitch or anything, but i really was taken somewhat aback. what really got me is when the candidate expressed an interest in working for the slaughterhouse for a few months before/during data collection (a wish that went unfulfilled). i just can’t imagine wanting to do that, "for fun." i really really can’t.
it was also somewhat fascinating hearing people talk about slaughterhouses and organizational efficiency from an academic standpoint. i really had to kind of step outside of myself and remind myself to focus on "interesting ideas" floating about the room rather than the fact that i was listening to a presentation about a successful bird-killing-joint.
toward the end i gave up and i doodled "i heart turkeys" in my notes and drew a little bird.