Friday, November 21, 2008


I spent about 5 hours yesterday working through files for the Underwater Basketweaving search because we decided at our meeting earlier in the week that we'd all review the top choice files of each committee member so that we could meet today to come up with our primary interview group.

This morning, when I got in, I had an email waiting from a colleague on the committee saying that he hadn't gone back through the files, and thus wasn't prepared to meet today. The email was timestamped in the early AM hours.

Later this morning, I got an email from another committee member saying that he, too, hadn't had time to do the work, and agreeing that we should put off the meeting until next week. And then another from another committee member, agreeing that it was a good idea.

On one hand, putting the meeting off is fine with me. I'll get to the bank, which I need to do, and go to the fun food store (the organic and area farmers store) to get some really good cheese (they're a great organization, but run limited hours). I could get home before 7:30pm for the first time this week.

And seriously, we all work hard, and why should these committee members sacrifice family time, or personal time, or whatever for committee work? Isn't it basically just overworking ourselves at the whims of the administration, which represents the government, an entity that pays us all miserably anyway, and exploits our labor?

On the other hand, I stupidly spent most of my afternoon yesterday doing that instead of grading. Why did I do that?

I had three reasons, I guess. The first is that I'd made a commitment to my colleagues to be prepared to meet on Friday.

The second is that we're in danger of losing this search, and the longer it goes on, the more danger we're in. That means if we can hire someone before the end of December, and the papers get signed, then there will be a new hire in the field. If the search stretches into January, then our calendar means it will necessarily stretch into February, and the new state budget will be in and it's unlikely to be a budget with much room for hiring anyone.

The subpart of this second issue is that I've evidently taken the need for a new tenure track position in this field a lot more seriously than my Underwater Basketweaving colleagues.

The third reason is that, crappy as our pay is, hiring a new tenure track colleague means that at least one person out on the job market would have a job come August, a job with benefits and a chance at tenure. A lot of people have put resources into applying for this one job.

My petty bourgeois attitude is showing, isn't it?

Maybe if I were only male, I'd feel free to blow things off, instead of doing this crappy female-culture "good community member" idiocy thing? (Yes, I'm the only woman on this search; Underwater Basketweaving isn't as open to women as Shakespeare and early modern lit seems to be, which is probably part of why I was asked to participate.)

(Yes, I realize that not all men blow things off, and that many women do, but right now I'm frustrated with masculinist, sexist attitudes coming from several different directions.)


  1. ok. so putting this off a week isn't the end of the world, but it NEEDS to happen next week. even thought it is thanksgiving week.

  2. Ooh ooh ooh! Pick me! Pick meeeeee!

    ahem, sorry. Will commence whining in another thread.

  3. Wow - that strikes me as really unprofessional behavior, both in regard to the search and in regard to the other committee members. If one weren't able to review the files, surely one would be aware of this sooner than the *morning of* the meeting?

    (Sisyphus, I have a photo that's absolutely identical to your gravatar, except with a white cat.)

  4. I guess what shocks me the most in the post is that you're trying to hire someone in December. I thought that most academic jobs weren't solidified until the spring anyway. It sure would be nice to have my job search end in December, but that's just when the interviewing starts in English. Interesting how different departments' hiring processes go.

    The fact that the men on the committee blew off the committee work is not shocking at all to me. Not at all.

  5. This happens to me a lot too, and often, although not always, it is gendered in the way you describe. I just don't get it when people say they are going to do something by a certain date and then don't -- and repeat this again and again. Do plans and commitments mean anything or do they not? The lesson in this seems to be that I should behave in the same irresponsible way because there's no reward -- and in fact there's only punishment -- for doing otherwise. It's not a lesson I want to learn though!

  6. word verification is joblep. Seems related, somehow. ;)

    As a single person without kids, I always feel like there's this assumption that my time is worth less than those who have kids and spouses (spice? ;) ). I feel like they feel if I spent 6 hours on a weekend looking through applications... well, so what? It's not like I have anybody to spend it with, yet my familied colleagues can take time off or postpone deadlines for any number of family related excuses.

    Hey! Shouldn't standards be the same for everybody? Sure emergencies come up, but...seriously!