Counting Down to the End of the Semester

As I get older, I don’t have the work stamina that I used to. However, I can still work 8, 10, 12 hours per day on technical stuff (writing papers or  proposals) and always come home fired up and ready for more. But working with people completely drains me and I can’t keep my eyes open. Today, after a day of face time, with even some drama in it, I napped in a chair for 2 hours right after dinner.

I cannot wait for this academic year to be over, and with it several nightmarish service assignments.

I am experiencing friction with an admin. I hadn’t interacted with said admin until recently, but now I seem to do it with some regularity in the context of a serice role. After a few encounters, I don’t really have much good to say about them. I’d say the admin is overall not a positive presence. They are quite annoyed at the strong faculty-governance history at the institution and the resulting system of checks and balances that stands in the way of them wielding much more power over personnel issues than they currently do. At the same time, the admin is kind of a downer — even when things with the administrative unit are going well, and they objectively are, the admin seems to always scold everyone; they focus on how we should be doing more or different things, and how we’re not where we are supposed to be yet. I know for a fact that some junior faculty are getting bummed out, because if you heard the admin, you’d think we’re some sort of perpetually failing, backward place, and that’s not really true at all.

If I ever had any shred of curiosity about going into administration, it’s all gone now. People are the worst, and smart people can be insufferable egotists. If I ever undergo research deadwoodification, I will gladly teach more rather than ever take the administrative route (although I understand people often do it not necessarily for the love of administration, but for the not-insignificant pay bump). I know I occasionally whine and complain about some students in my classes, but overall I enjoy teaching and like my students. I don’t begrudge office hours or email help or other time spent on teaching. However, I do very much resent being scolded and condescended to by a power-hungry admin. Why do we bring in these external people who have no understanding of the institution, no respect for the good long-standing practices, and want to mold us into wherever it is they came from? This is a great institution that has a lot to be proud of; we don’t need to become anyone else’s carbon copy.

4 comments

  1. Admins are brought in from the outside because that is how they get their huge pay boosts. Also, a lot of admins and consultants have jobs doing nationwide searches for admins (you won’t catch them doing it as overload on their current jobs, the way faculty are expected to for faculty searches).

  2. gasstationwithoutpumps, yeah, I know and I agree. Mine was a rhetorical question, while I’m shaking my fist at the universe — what did we get by bringing this person in? Obviously, it was a career step with likely a pay bump for this person, en route to provostship or university presidency somewhere else, I suppose.

  3. I clash with our admin all the time. I try so hard to be nice and polite and everything but they still feel like I am too demanding and put too much pressure on them! what the heck? we are all under pressure. How am I supposed to get all these proposals submitted and projects wrapped up without non-stop support from the admin? I guess the pressure should always be on me alone. I heard that they call me the mean one and other names. For a while, I was wondering if that’s because I am a female. If a male prof is demanding, he is probably really good at his job, but if a female prof is demanding, she is a mean b****that doesn’t know how to prioritize and tasks in a timely manner.

  4. Once I heard an admin complain about the faculty by saying that we thought the mission of the university was just research, teaching and service and we don’t understand what a university is really supposed to be about. I still don’t understand wtf he was talking about.

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