Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Going Out on a Limb

Gah! I just did one of those things that makes me fear for my future. I'm just not one of those people who can shut up until tenure when I see something that I believe is a big mistake. So I told the people in power that I believe it's a big mistake (of course not in those terms at all), suggested what I thought would be better, and tried to emphasize that I mean only the best for them and their goals. There was no way that I could sit still and do nothing, because it was driving me batty -- and I know at least one other person who was also being driven batty. And really, I hope to be remembered by these people as someone who puts my best brain and the wisdom of my experience in service of their goals. But I fear I just look like a big jerk. I'm always the squeaky wheel.

In theory, everyone wants a passionate and smart colleague who wants to help, right? I'm a professional. I can't just sit by and watch something I'm participating in die an ugly death. But in practice, I fear, people want to carry on with business as usual -- or business as they think best (which is usually easiest). Dear lord, I'm obviously going to be sweating this until I hear some kind of response. Crap. I wonder if I should've talked to my department head first. Or a mentor. Double crap.

Well, being me, I could do nothing else. At least if I don't make tenure, it won't be because I pretended I was someone else for six years.

Is the right thing really to keep one's head down until tenure? If so, I am oh so not going to make it!


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I'm definitely not the type who could keep my mouth shut for six years (or so) until tenure. That would make me crazy. Maybe I'm not cut out for this job after all. I'm not demure.

heu mihi said...

"Is the right thing really to keep one's head down until tenure?"

SO not true at my institution. Granted, we have a tiny faculty (about 45 profs in the entire college), but here it's all about being invested and collegial and making a contribution. The whole "protecting junior faculty from service" thing doesn't happen, here, either, so I think it's only right and fair that we have a strong voice in what goes down!

My point is just that this is not the universal truth that we're told it is when we enter the profession--not at all.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

I don't think one needs to be silent until tenure. Just don't start any wars or be rude, and know when to give it up.

A respectful colleague who has and shares ideas is a good thing.