I've had a couple friends move into various administrative type positions over the years, and a common refrain I've heard is that they were told that "people change towards you." And they tell me it's true that people change towards them. Things just aren't the same.
So I've tried to be pretty aware of how I change towards people as they've gone into administration. And I think it's true. Some things I do change. For example, I don't easily share personal problems because it feels like every conversation is "official." And if I share that I'm having difficulty with a class, that's going to be on the person's mind if they review me, or see my application for something, and so on. If I tell them I'm feeling lousy, then the response is all official and not what I'm probably looking for, the sympathetic "gosh, I'm sorry, I hope you feel better soon! Have some chicken soup." So if a friend who's gone into administration feels that I've pulled back, that's a reasonable observation, I think.
But what I don't hear from the administrative folks is that they, too, change. For one, they seem to quickly lose touch with the rhythm of the teaching semester. I've had administrative friends suggest I take a week off in the middle of the semester to do a group vacation, for example.
And this week, there's another:
In the stone ages, my department used to give a "common" grammar type exam in comp courses. Everyone hated it, and we voted it away not long after I came, but when it was there, it was on the first Monday of finals week, at 8am, and then we'd have a departmental potluck for lunch that day, too. We were all on campus anyway, and the emeriti and spouses would come, and we'd all blow off some steam, and then get back to grading jail. (I'm sure it was even easier when most of the faculty were married men whose spouses would cook the potluck and bring it still hot from the oven.)
The practice faded away because without the common exam we weren't all on campus on Monday, and we're all busy, and about half of us are women who don't have a spouse to obligingly cook and bring our potluck dish, and so on.
The new chair decided to bring back the tradition. I think some of the emeriti really missed it.
I signed up because I want to be supportive of the new chair, but I'm irritated that I'll have to get up early to get to campus to get parking, spend at least half a day on campus getting far less grading done than I would at home, figure out food to bring (I've done that, at least).
Judging from the nudges we got from the departmental staff folks, sign ups were slow. And the sign up sheet wasn't very full when I put my name on there. I think this is one of those things we should let go of, and let us do our jobs without demanding that we socialize on campus, officially.
May I also note that it irritates me slightly that the married faculty couples (both in the department) bring one dish, prepared by the female partner. The married men in my department seem largely incapable of turning on a stove or oven; the ones who are married to non-department members always seem to note that their wives made their dish, unless they've chosen to bring cheese on a platter, in which case they may have made the purchase.