|Heisenberg collapses to the zombie |
state...here, and not here.
"I just wanted you to know that, although I voted to change the bylaws, I think you're right; but I could just see the way things were going, so it wouldn't have changed the result. I hope you'll understand."
He was silent at the meeting. The other spots me as I'm leaving the building:
"Are you leaving us? I look at her, puzzled. She continues: "Forever?"
And these are the friendly ones; the closest I have to people who are okay with having me around. The majority is completely indifferent. And then there's a small but persistent group who is convinced I won't make deals, that I'm trouble. Better keep me under a tight lid, or better yet, gone.
My departmental colleagues are definitely contributors to professional misery. The things we talk about here: the rise of adminiflakes with strange priorities, the entitlement and poor preparation of most students, the adjunctification and disempowerement of the faculty, the erosion of tenure. Big-picture professional stuff that I've never discussed with colleagues. I could be wrong, but I think they'd say "waste of time, like talking about the weather. Just keep most of them happy and you won't be bothered." It's bad form to talk about it. Administrators can change the rules for new people any way they want; those not personally affected won't bother to voice any opposition.
And it's the same with long-term strategy for the department, graduate or undergraduate. Not discussed in open fora; we don't have any data. Historical PhD data? Not easily available. Number and placement history of our majors? Impossible to find out. Course assignments are decided in smoke-filled rooms (technically by the head), who has reduced teaching loads and why is a closely guarded secret. Criteria to evaluate teaching? None openly known. And nobody cares. Nothing is done transparently--everything decided behind closed doors, with most people voting by absentee ballot (when there's even a vote). Faculty meetings are attended by maybe half of us. They don't matter, except to make social support statements: tell me whom you hate.
And oh, the rich social life. There are two groups of people: those I say hi to if I see them in the hallway, and those that lead me to walk off in a different direction. That's it. That's the entirety of my interaction with most colleagues, outside of committee meetings. I never see anyone outside of the building. Maybe there are parties, beer outings or dinners somewhere, but I doubt it.
It's a strange place, and I'm wondering if it's exceptionally bad. Other places I've been to seemed a lot more social, even in my notoriously asocial, individualistic field. A couple of recent comments on CM lead me to believe that others here have "colleague problems". So, what are your departmental colleagues like? Are big-picture professional discussions common? Any socializing? Any friends among them?