Monday, September 08, 2014

Why Being An Administrator Is (Sometimes) Super Cool

Why can it be very great to be an administrator, at least certain kinds of administrator, such as department heads or program directors or maybe even some dean-like people?

Because, from time to time, you get to offer people excellent jobs, like tenure-track sorts of jobs. Such jobs do indeed still exist. Some people are getting them and that means that other people are making the official offers to those people. I have found that I very much enjoy being one of those other people.

That is: It is of course very thrilling to get an offer of a tenure-track position. It is also super cool to be the one making the offer/s.

I like to think about this when the relentlessly trivial and soul-destroying aspects of being an administrator start to gain on the positive aspects.

Below is a highly schematic graph that I hope I can eventually replace with a graph based on actual data (with a Time axis that has real units). This example graph is just to show in a relative sense how super cool making a job offer is compared to routine administrative tasks and the occasional unpleasant (but not catastrophic) financial or personnel crisis. 

+ = supercoolness; - = suckiness; 0 = neutral; time has no units...

7 comments:

phillychuck said...

This is spot on. And having been a department head over 11 years, there are some longer term delights at seeing the faculty you've hired get tenure.

standrewslynx said...

I guess the immediate question is: "So how do you feel about having to send out x rejection letters after each tenure-track search?" Job candidates often feel that they are treated badly when it comes to rejections (e.g., left in the lurch too long, an insensitive tone or unhelpful information in the letter), and I'm sure that the process of deciding which candidates to reject is a difficult one for the admin/Hiring Committee.

quasihumanist said...

I would have thought that the pain of informing 499 people, half of whom look more qualified than you were at a similar stage in your career, that they didn't get the job would well more than balance out the pleasure of offering someone a job.

Funny Researcher said...

I am sure you don't like it when you have to say No to 4 other candidates with a vague reason why they were not selected for tenure-track.

But I am sure that one phone call where you do have to say yes you are the one is worth while.

Btw, do you call the candidates that are not selected? I happened to get no phone calls for rejections (just emails)

Female Science Professor said...

True, the rejection part is difficult -- even those of us far removed from the time when we were rejected for jobs are still capable of empathy about this. This does not, however, negate the joy of making an offer (or two) at the end of a search. I will write in more detail in a separate post about the rejection process (revisiting some old posts from a 2014 perspective).

Anonymous said...

This was just posted on WomanOfScience.com blog about typical ups and downs of the tenure track. Funny how these posts came out at the same time. Glad FSP is having an "up swing."

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, is that the only/main reason why being an administrator can be enjoyable? If so, it's not clear that it would be a net rewarding experience, for those considering that direction.