Group assignments and projects are highly regarded in academia, they are supposed to develop team work in students and that kind of untrue shit. But let’s see how an actual academic team project goes on. Like animal groups, project group also has an Alpha and a Beta. However, it also has a bunch of gammas depending on the team size. Unlike, animals where Alpha dominates and Betas follow. This human group has a more complicated chain of command. If you ever worked in a group project you have probably experienced following scenarios.
First, let’s see who is who
Alpha – The guy who does 80% of the work
Beta – The guy who at least tries.
Gammas – All other who basically don’t give shit
- Alpha quickly takes control, but says in a Google CEO fashion that ‘I don’t want to decide topic, let’s all propose an idea and we will have a discussion to choose the best one.’
- Beta knows that his idea is not going to be accepted, but still does a halfhearted effort come up with some idea. And the Gammas, well they (paste the last four words from their description here)
- A group meeting is called and canceled multiple times before finally a fruitless meeting is conducted.
- And guess who’s idea is finalized? Yup, you are right.
- Everyone is assigned responsibilities, which all know don’t mean shit.
- As his proposal is finalized Alpha is both excited and obliged to work, and starts working in total isolation from the team. Beta, now somewhat relieved moves to even more passive role. And the Gammas say that they are reviewing literature, my ass.
- Alpha gives Beta some work and after working for a week, when he reports to Alpha that he is done, this is what Alpha says, “Actually, I changed the system flow, now we don’t need that shit anymore. Did I forget to tell you? Anyway, you learned something. Yes, you did forget to tell me and this ‘something’ was literally the last entry in my ‘things to learn’ list.
- Alpha gives Beta another work and when it’s done, reveals that he has (secretly) completed the work on his own already.
- Gammas start skipping meetings giving strange and/or unbelievable reasons. I am locked in the apartment, my hand hurts, my roommate is coming back from his day job and I must be there to cordially receive him.
- More fruitless meetings, where Gammas say weird and irrelevant things which are overlooked and not corrected mostly because of laziness (and to avoid awkward conversations). These meetings are moot anyway as Alpha is doing almost everything, but are still held with good ‘esprit de corps’.
- The deadline for first deliverables come close and Alpha first time in his life tries to give some minor work to a Gamma only to realize that Gamma doesn’t even have a remote idea about what’s going on.
- Programming starts where one of the Gamma says, “Dude, you have forgotten a semicolon there. Not there, little up, up, you went too up, down.” “Thanks, asshole, you think you are a great service. But you know what, the compiler would have given the line number.”
- One of the Gamma uploads some random shit to GitHub repository as his ‘contribution’, which stays there until the very last moment until someone (Alpha or Beta) notices it.
- Failed attempts to make Gammas do easy task like writing less important sections of the report are made.
- Alpha assigns even easier tasks to Gamma. “Okay, the code is ready can run it on cloud and check the results.”. The Gamma replies, “Let’s have a meeting”. I don’t want to have a meeting, mofo. Just run the f**king code.
- Alpha realizes that he has done almost everything and Gamma has done almost nothing. He starts assigning ridicules tasks to Gammas, only to feel better. “Okay, I have completed the 10 page final report in LaTeX , can you convert it to PDF?” This time Gamma does ‘the job’ successfully.
- On the day of presentation Beta and Gammas are carefully given minor topics, so they don’t get caught. Almost every question is answered by Alpha.
- While preparing the final report Mr. Asshole, whose only contribution is a failed effort to format LaTeX, says that ‘Let’s keep names in alphabetical order’ — Mr. Douchebag agrees.
Note: He is to read as he or she. I generally randomize the use, but for this post it proved difficult.