Saturday, January 21, 2012

Deja Vu

At the end of each semester I tell myself I will have a new job by the time the next semester starts, and that I won’t have to go back to that dreadful place. Especially after last semester, which was officially the worst regarding the students. And at the beginning of each new semester I find myself going to the departmental meeting, with the same 5-10 people (20 or so never show up), the one new person that will soon be gone, and everyone asks the same exact questions, answered with the same exact answers every single time. I feel like I’m in Groundhog Day but without any fun parts...I know I wouldn’t survive jumping from the roof.

Why do I know more about aspects that affect my paycheck than my counterpart that has been here 8 years? Why do you people get confused by typing info on an internet page instead of writing it on a piece of paper? It’s 2012. Why have you never ever checked your departmental email? How did you find out about this meeting? Why does someone have to show you how to use the internet? Why did you type in a URL and go through 4 links when you could have just typed in the 4th URL which was shorter than the first? It’s 2012. Why did you just announce that I am to be in charge of a committee when you only once emailed and said you’d like to meet about it (ok, so this was new, and will be new misery)? Why do you pretend the remodeling will actually happen this semester – you’ve said it since I got here (3 years ago, and supposedly for 3 years before that)? What do you mean we need to instate rules for the intro hamster classes? I’ve been enforcing them for 3 years and I got the rule sheet from you! Did something change? No? And no one is new here? So why are we going over it again? No, I’m not new here. I’ve been here for 3 years, 7 semesters, and yes, I think I may have met you at this meeting before. Or in our shared office space. No, the professor that teaches the Biology of Hamsters did not make that cake. She brings it every semester, the same one, and you always ask if she made it, and she always says no and tells you where she got it!!! Anxiety attack justified! Brain hurting.


  1. A decade ago, I was in the same situation as you are now. It didn't take much for me to start planning my exit out of the madhouse I was at.

  2. This clearly tops anything I'll say but it does remind me a of a committee I served on many years ago. Every spring, we would hash out who would be the next chair in the fall. There was a set rotation but nobody could remember it (or the person who was next up pretended not to know - that was my trick). This went on for the seven years I served on the committee which also contained 80% of the same people throughout that time.

    In the fall, we'd do it all over again because nobody took notes to confirm who the chair was going to be.

  3. @Prof. Terg: My sincere wishes for your success in voting with your feet, and as soon as you possibly can. I too worked at a place where the lunatics had definitely taken over the asylum, and as an Accursed Visiting Assistant Professor. It really takes the biscuit when they pay you doodley-squat and treat you like something to be scraped off one's shoe, and then IMMEDIATELY make it clear that they depend on your crucially, doesn't it? I burst out laughing when someone posted the sign, "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

    Escaping it felt -so- great, like that feeling Charlie Gordon got from reading "Paradise Lost," when he was still smart from the operation (in Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes). Unfortunately, once I got to the new place, it didn't take long for a couple of nasty old bits of deadwood to spring fresh atrocities on me, but after a dreadful struggle I did subsequently get tenure, and I now have them at my mercy. MUAA-HA-HAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! (One gets to practice one's mad scientist laugh, when one becomes Chair of the Department of Physics.)


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