If I could turn back time...
Yeah, Cher. You and me both.
Actually, if I could travel back in time, say ten years ago, I would have one serious sit-down conversation with my younger self.
Ten years ago, I was young(er), newly established in a FT teaching position, and was excited to be in the academic environment.
(Oh, you poor naive young lad.)
I finally achieved the career that I had always envisioned for myself.
But then it all changed.
This once peaceful work environment began to transform into one of nightmarish despair and hopelessness.
Circumstances and events in the college's history during that period brought out the worst in people. Our work family irrevocably went from happy to dysfunctional in the blink of an eye. I couldn't have imagined that these colleagues, these professionals, could act and behave like children. The people politics became so toxic, and the scheming and back-stabbing so sinister, that even Machiavelli would have cringed. There was so much Kool-aid on tap, that I thought the area that housed the administrative offices was going to be renamed the Jim Jones wing. The Kool-aid pitcher was even made a Dean. Oh yeah.
I stuck it out for a while thinking it would get better. I mean, it couldn't really get worse, could it? (Oh, you poor naive young lad.) Well, it did, with each year being progressively more vile than the last, and I let it churn me up until I quit.
I imagine that the conversation with my younger self would be very one-sided, as I impart my experiences and wisdom to him.
Me_at_37: Who are you?
Me_at_47: I'm you from the future.
Me_at_37: Holy crap....
Me_at_47: Yeah, no kidding.....now shut up and listen.....
If you are new in your position, and your paradise is starting to go sour, then for what it is worth, I give you the following advice:
Don't take on everything. You have nothing to prove. Are you faster than a course overload, more powerful than an extra set of advisees, able to leap four committees in a single bound? I found out the hard way that the answer was 'no'. By all means, cultivate a good reputation for doing your job well, but don't burn yourself out doing it. If administration sees that 'S' on your chest, they figure that is where the shit goes, and they will likely give you more. That 'S' stands for sucker. It also stands for stress.
Find your voice. I know this is tough when you are new. You aren't quite sure when you can play a 'no' card, or what you can express a concern about. Don't complain about mouse-nuts stuff. (Yeah, it sucks when the copier is out of toner, boo hoo.) But, on the other hand, don't suffer in silence, as that can make you a pushover target. During my first year, administration strongly suggested that I teach an online course. (as that was new at the time) I sheepishly agreed, without having had a clue about it, and it bit me in the ass. You will find your vocal balance, in time. It is an important task and worthy of your effort.
Overburdened? Ask to have your work prioritized. Or if something isn't working out, give your boss suggestions or alternatives to work with. Never go in empty-handed. You know, do all that sappy stuff that makes your boss feel valued, labels you a team-player, moves things along giving the illusion of progress and accomplishment, and spins things into a win-win for both parties. It doesn't always work everywhere or all the time, but it does help you find your voice.
It is okay to be selfish. You can be selfish without being an a-hole. It is possible. It definitely is healthy. Maybe you can't participate in an activity or attend an event. You can make people understand that some of your scheduled time needs to be blocked for your work. Your stuff comes first. The good people will get it. The ones who don't understand, don't matter.