This is my first semester of real grant writing, and that means that suddenly my whole life revolves around getting to know what sorts of things I need to do to become BEST friends with the people distributing that money. I want to know everything about them so that they think I’m the coolest. You like salsa and pickle flavored ice cream? What a surprise! Me too! Allow me to introduce them.
Fulbright is super eager and new to the area (she probably just got a job at a local NGO). She imagines you to be potential soul-sisters but she’s not really interested in your work*. She likes to hang out, but not just chatting over a drink or anything like that. She’d rather go dancing, volunteer at soup kitchens, and ride the double decker tour bus. She also wants you to tell her about all your other friends.
By contrast, SSRC and Wenner Gren are work buddies from the University. In fact, it’s hard to imagine hanging out with them in any other context. They each have their little quirks. SSRC is delighted when he recognizes dropped names. Wenner Gren is a bit of a luddite (keeps paper back-ups of everything) but loves to sit and talk about new ideas and directions. In election season SSRC keeps track of the constellations of political alliances and Wenner Gren likes to forecast what will happen next. SSRC reads the literary fiction recommended by the New York Review of Books but you’re more likely to find Wenner Gren with her nose in a good dystopian fic.
Secretly, though, I know I’m just barely scratching the surface with these guys and if anyone knows them better, they should give me the inside scoop.
*Even though you’re pretty sure that your work is your soul.