Friday, February 28, 2014

No, really, Dr. Amelia didn't have anything else to do

What? Go to the out of town meeting for you. Because you're busy, Mr. Tenured Proffie? I would be so very happy to do that for you.

Oh, spend my evenings in the campus call center calling prospective students with good SAT scores? And you'll give me free crappy pizza? Yes, yes please, Ms. Assoc. Dean.

Hmmmm? You forgot our meeting, so can I come in again next week on the one day I have to not drive an hour each way to come to campus so I can have two more hours to, you know, maybe do some research? But of course. It would be my pleasure, Senior Proffie lady. Look forward to your positive vote in a year.

Oh, hey, Sally Freshperson. What? You don't want to Google how to solve your little technical problem? Well, no problem. Don't tire your student-evaluation-writing fingers out on that nasty old keyboard. Dr. Amelia would be so very happy to guess what your problem is, Google it for you, and send you the solutions. Really. It's the very least I can do.

What colleague from a previous school that I'll need a tenure rec from? You can't figure out how to format that table in your paper? By ALL MEANS, please send it to me and ask me to figure it out and send it back. I have nothing better to do.

Dr. Amelia thinks it is a bad thing that she is now fantasizing about what a jerk she will be when she gets tenure. But it just might be epic.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Once more, with better-formed html:

    Fantasizing about being a jerk isn't a bad way to cope with present indignities. Being able to act like a normal person with reasonable boundaries (ones that, among other things, protect your time for the things that are actually crucial to your actual job) is one of the benefits of tenure. Of course, the latter should be available to all human beings in all jobs, but, given the present economy, power structure, lack of unions, etc., etc., it has, unfortunately, become a privilege of the few.

    I hope this doesn't count as hijacking your thread, Amelia (if so, I apologize), but somehow it feels related. Yesterday, NPR reported on who actually gets flexible/telework schedules: basically, not the very young and tech-savvy, or those who might most need flexibility (e.g. women with significant family caretaking duties), but more senior men (who take off for outside-the-office venues in part to get real work done). "Teacher" was listed as one of those jobs often done by women that couldn't be location-shifted (there was , as usual, no recognition of prep/grading as part of teachers' work). It strikes me that universities may be an exception to this general rule: faculty (including non-tenure-track and part-time faculty) have the most time/location flexibility (sometimes by no choice of their/our own, since some faculty don't even have offices, and many have offices in which it's hard, for any number of reasons, to get actual work done), while those with more power, administrators, are more location/time-bound. And there's every indication that they resent the hell out of this small but important bit of faculty freedom.

    P.S. if you're going to be stuck in the call center, maybe you could get the university wellness team, or the health sciences folks, or somebody, to talk to the Dean about the crappy pizza?

  3. They asked you to COLD CALL PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS?! Oh no. No, no, no, no. I had two jobs between masters' and ph.d. that involved cold calling and no, no, no, never again.

    1. I hate-hate-hate doing that. Everyone seems to think it's an invitation to tell you how much they hate physics. I stopped getting asked to do cold-calling when I figured out a response: "IT DOES REQUIRE INTELLIGENCE!"

  4. My last department head always had some private pet project on the go, largely because he wanted to impress his masters with the hope that he'd be promoted to dean.

    Usually, those projects involved using us, his department, as the guinea pigs and, if we knew what was good for us, we played along. He never hesitated to hold after-hours meetings about them, which frequently went well into the evening. Maybe he thought we didn't have enough to do with our own work, let alone have private lives.

    As far as I know, those meetings accomplished very little. He was never promoted during the time I was there.