The Advisor

("The Advisor" is set to the music of "The Gambler" by Don Schlitz and parodies his lyrics. The "authoritative" version of "The Gambler" is sung by Kenny Rogers. Alternate lyrics are by Rachel Pottinger and Steve Wolfman with assistance from Alan Hu.)
Yet another PC1 meetin' at some hotel by an airport
I met this Prof. Emer'ta2 I'd admired from afar.
She'd published reams of papers and advised a student army,
Gave her name to numerous theorems, and now she's at this bar.

So I sidled up beside her, and I ordered us some coffee.
She asked me my per diem3 then said "Let me get this, son.
I can see you've had rejections, on some papers you thought perfect.
Now your best students are fleein', take their Masters and they run.

Who'd they give you for a mentor?  Some Kleenex-less4 Cro-Magnon?
A tough-guy-prof whose best advice is 'meet 'em once a term'?
If you want to get where I am — and I don't just mean tenured —
if you're gonna run your own lab, ya gotta run it fair but firm.

You got to know when to pass 'em, know when to harass 'em,
Know who to give TAs, know who to fund.
You never count grant money with a student in your office.
There'll be time enough for counting when the meetin's done.

Find the next deadline and resubmit that paper.
Maybe the next blind reviewers will think it's out of sight!
Ev'r' LPU's5 a winner, and ev'ry one's a loser:
From strong reject to weak accept with no need to rewrite."

So when she'd finished speaking, she traded me a bus'ness card
Sucked down the coffee dregs and headed to her suite
Emblazoned on that card, was a name I'd never heard of,
But networking's a tricky thing, so learn from who you meet:

You got to know when to pass 'em, know when to harass 'em,
Know who to give TAs, know who to fund.
You never count grant money with a student in your office.
There'll be time enough for counting when the meetin's done.

You got to know when to pass 'em, know when to harass 'em,
Know who to give TAs, know who to fund.
You never count grant money with a student in your office.
There'll be time enough for counting when the meetin's done.

Footnotes

  1. PC = Program Committee (as in "Yeah, I remember when I was excited about serving on conference PCs, too.")
  2. emerita = permanently (terminally?) happy
  3. per diem = the average of the amounts that one typical hard-drinking faculty member and three typical teetotalers will spend in one day, adjusted for local liquor prices
  4. Kleenex = what every faculty member should always have in her office, in case of student implosion/explosion
  5. LPU = Least Publishable Unit

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