Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the other side of the fence

I was recently asked to serve on a search committee looking to replace a failed tenure bid. I am way too excited about this; it's for a department that's a bit out of my area, to the extent that I might not know WTF the applicants are talking about in their research statements, but I get to see what it's like to be the chooser instead of the beggar, and I think it will be fun. Even with the decent pile of folders that I already have sitting in my office. I'm expecting some "oh my god I did this in my applications too and it's such a mistake!" revelations, so we'll see how depressing it is as a learning experience. Can't be that bad, I guess, since they did hire me. Right?

Today I also received a phone call from a Senior Faculty member asking me to serve on another campus committee. This puts my service load at five committees (including the above) plus faculty meetings, student advising and mentorship/research supervision. Those committees are not all equivalent work loads, and two of them are not permanent assignments, but it's still a huge jump from the "service free" first year. I don't know how this compares to other SLAC faculty or even other faculty at my SLAC - I may ask around to see what other people do in terms of service load. But, honestly, when Senior Faculty members call you to say "hey we want you to do this important thing for us" am I going to say no? No, I am going to say yes, even if I'm up to my eyeballs already, because at a place like this not doing that kind of service is a Bad Thing. I often receive general advice from more experienced academics, who all say that "you need to learn to say no!"-- and ok, that's fine if I'm saying no to the public, or to extra student projects that aren't my problem, or to student groups. But the Senior Faculty do not get No, and that's just how it is. So I just hope they stop asking me for stuff, because my service is becoming a bit crazy. Sometimes fun, but crazy.

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