Friday, March 23, 2012

Too Much To Expect

Imagine that a certain professor is involved in two particular "service" activities that are rather time-consuming. We will call them Activity 1 (A1) and Activity 2 (A2). It doesn't matter what they are or whether they involve institutional service (to the department, college, university etc.) or professional service (to the wider community of people involved in a discipline). And let's ignore for now the fact that many of us are involved in more than 2 "service" activities in any given year.

As happens from time to time, people on committees or boards or other service groupings need to find other people to join them in these activities. Maybe someone left, maybe there is a regular cycling of people through these service organizations or units, maybe it's just time to invite someone new. So the people currently involved in this service activity (in this case, A1) come up with a list of names of others to approach about joining them, offering a wonderful new opportunity to do even more service and spend all that excess leisure time.

Now there is a list of names that needs discussing: who would be good to work with, etc.? It emerges that one criterion for eliminating people from consideration is the fact that some are also committed to spending time on A2, so it is unlikely that they can be involved in A1 and A2.

But.. wait a minute.. you are involved in A1 and A2! Why was this not an issue when you were invited to be involved in A1?

You have a hypothesis.

Does anyone want to guess what this is, or at least propose their own?

16 comments:

Alex said...

But.. wait a minute.. you are involved in A1 and A2! Why was this not an issue when you were invited to be involved in A1?

My hypothesis: You're the hard-working and conscientious person who says "yes" to service activities, so of course you get taken advantage of, and obviously your burdens don't need to get taken into account.

Right now I'm getting paid less than somebody who publishes far less, does less service, what service they do take on gets dumped on others (e.g. me) and even teaches less because they are good at getting release time (and sometimes even stipends!) for tasks that seem to have few tangible deliverables. Somehow a great many things are organized around this person's convenience, but never around my convenience. Because I'm the dumb sucker who doesn't say "no."

Anonymous said...

Always need a token!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Alex

EliRabett said...

It's an earlier variation of someone on the INTERNET is wrong

Sinead said...

The Alex is wise

GMP said...

What Alex says plus the token bit, all wrapped up into a juicy burrito of not-so-covert sexism.

"Women are warm, cuddly, and nurturing, they love service and could not possibly be too busy, because we all know women are never that busy or that important. I know -- let's invite FSP!!! That way we'll have a woman on A1 committee!" *self-congratulatory pat on the back, feeling virtuous for increasing diversity on cte*

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon @1:30am. They needed a female to be on both committees, and that female was you.

Anonymous said...

"But.. wait a minute.. you are involved in A1 and A2! Why was this not an issue when you were invited to be involved in A1?"

You are a woman.

Anonymous said...

dumb sucker, or token.

:(

Anonymous said...

you are the token who also can't say no ?

Anonymous said...

maybe you were the first to do A1 and A2 and they saw how hard that was? So this would be a reaction to, and recognition of, your efforts?

To push that idea even further, maybe they saw that you weren't as productive a contributor because of being over-burdened? So this would be a judgment on your performance?

Anonymous said...

1. you are not an a$$hole
2. you actually show up for service responsibilities
3. you are a woman

Anonymous said...

If it makes any of the women feel better I am a male full prof who is quite active in both research and teaching, and I am doing a f&*%load of service these days.

Sucker, I might be.

Alex said...

full prof who is quite active in both research and teaching, and I am doing a f&*%load of service these days.

You've heard the joke about the chair who had a well-balanced department of 30 faculty:

10 of them were renowned, productive researchers.
10 of them were excellent, respecteded teachers.
10 of them were hard-working and accomplished in their services rendered to the institution and profession.

The only problem is that it was the same 10 in each category.

Female post-doc said...

Clearly, ditto to all of the above.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm not cynical enough yet, but this seems like a case for "never assume malice..."

They might have HAD this same conversation about you, but everyone else under consideration had similar outside commitments (say, A3 and A4). Or they might be more aware of the activities of the person under consideration than they were of yours.