Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Quit Being a Victim." Stan the Silverback from Sarasota Replies to Rachel.

I admit I'm annoyed at Rachel's post from yesterday. That list of 6 reasons to jump ship all strike me as being written by someone who is fraught with self-esteem issues, bad sense, and an overactive flight response.

  • If you get a bad teaching assignment, speak up. These things are usually negotiable. I hear younger faculty all the time bitch and moan about what classes they're "given," yet nobody ever says, "I talked to my chair about it and we worked it out." There's a "victim" mentality in too many of you.

  • Same thing. Say "no" sometimes to extra assignments. Ask, "What's Harry doing?" "How many committees are the rest of the faculty on?" "Wouldn't Joanne be great for this? I don't think I'd add much. I'm enjoying my work on Xxxxx committee."

  • In extreme cases, of course this discrimination is abhorrent. But in most departments, there's no fucking conspiracy against you. The "silverbacks" don't have little meetings finding ways to fuck you over. Get this straight: Most folks don't give a shit about you, so aren't wasting time plotting against you. They are doing their work, making their own paths. Stand up. Don't cower.

  • Some good advice in this point, actually, because when you actually are harrassed, you should get others involved. Use your colleagues and chair to your advantage. When things are going south for you, get help. But don't expect help to find you.

  • Rachel's oversimplified view of "back in the day" is quite quaint. Has she been watching too much Mad Men lately? She's actually quite rude in her depiction of what she imagines senior faculty lives were. And she seems to be talking about an older generation than the one that is in "power" now. I'm sure I qualify as a silverback - despite having rather brown skin - and my wife never typed my work for me. She was too busy being a doctor. Our kids were raised by television, just like normal. And, yes, better opportunities, they exist, but not in the numbers you imagine. The opportunity lies inside, and as soon as you realize that, you'll be a lot happier.

  • I think you'd imagine anyone was a dick who didn't fall over themselves making you and your partner feel good. But good gravy, can't you do some of the heavy lifting yourself? Did you not research the town you moved to? Did you not check on opportunities for your spouse before you moved? They've got this vast interconnected network of information sites now that you might check into. Shit, back in the day we used telephone books and the library to find out if Pudknocker, Kansas was going to be right for us. And we asked our future colleagues, and we didn't expect the Pudknockerians to make us all well and happy. And yes, because your "grandpappy" isn't from around here, we're going to do all we can to ruin your spouse's career. Good grief, get some backbone, both of you.