Preparing for Third Year Review

That Blackguard has asked me what will happen at third year review. He was not interested in my answer, however, because he believes the public university which awarded him his degree is several tiers better than the one that awarded me mine (the University of California at Berkeley).  In addition, I work at this university, so I could not know anything.  (As does he, I note.) Because he has something none of the rest of us could imagine having — friends at other universities — he knows much more than we ever could about how the profession works.

So, since he will never even listen to my advice, let alone take it, I will offer it to you. Imagine yourself as someone with acceptable research and teaching records, but no record on service except your record of refusing regular service assignments, disrupting service undertaken by others, and haranguing colleagues about large service projects they should undertake. Imagine that you are a foreigner and you do not speak English.

My advice to everyone would be, first of all, that rather than create conflict and stress on the committees to which you have been assigned, and then boycotting these, you should actually function on them. If I take time to give you, the person described above, this advice in response to your questions about third year review, you really should listen rather than spit in my face.

Since the Blackguard spat in my face, I did not give him my next piece of advice, which would have been that if he undertakes additional service work on his own initiative, he should finish it; and he should finish it in such a way as not to create additional work for others.

He would then be able to say that he initiated the awarding of an essay prize, an activity which has grown in popularity and is now a thriving departmental tradition; that the theatre group he started is now performing at local festivals; that the new study abroad agreement he suggested has been negotiated and is poised to begin functioning.

Instead, all he has to say is that he started an essay prize and was then too lazy to have a certificate made or arrange in any other way to actually award the prize to its winners, and that the contest, which was supposed to be yearly, was never given again; that he started a theatre group and then dropped it in a fit of pique after students had put in a good many evenings rehearsing for their first performance; that he harangued his colleagues about study abroad but would not listen to the information they offered on how he might realize his dreams; and that he did these things in addition to disrupting regular work rather than helping with it.


10 thoughts on “Preparing for Third Year Review

  1. You know, that explanation would account for some of the interesting behavior I have seen from a particular individual at my new institution… fortunately it’s just the one.

  2. Wow! This is why I ceased applying for university enrollment. It has always amazed me that only in academe can grown adults be unfailingly expected to behave like twelve years olds. I have never witnessed so many negative, destructive egos perpetually “on the rag” with all around them, than in academia. I suppose the very uselessness and pointlessness of the place itself contributes to this cumulative debris of chronic payback.

    This and the special language academics use to express their views to each other. When I could no longer understand my own language spoken to me, or written in front of me, and when the little that I could understand confessed to me a great big “So what?!” I stopped applying to graduate schools, and stopped fantasizing about the great little corner office I would inhabit when I finished my 1000 page thesis on “whatever”. I am glad that I made this decision.

    1. Mark, it sounds as though you were not really interested in graduate school.

      On the atmosphere — I think it has more to do with the scarce funding/high stress, and in my case, dealing with so many teenagers. I’d like college better if it had a minimum age requirement of 21.

    1. Ha! I would deliver it if I could, but he doesn’t stop talking so I can’t! He doesn’t realize I vote on him and might not vote yes! He doesn’t realize a thing!

  3. What outsiders never understand is that it is all about the institution. If your ego is a good fit, fine. If it isn’t, go away and do something else.

  4. Yes — your ego and your whole way of being, are the things. I’ve always fit in best in large, well organized, professionally run institutions, where you can be menschlig and human but with real professional standards and structures. People always think I mean I am “too good” for other places but if one must put a value on it it would be just as valid to say I’m not good ENOUGH for other places. I don’t do well in dysfunctional atmospheres and so on, because I was raised in one and they raise all my hackles. All of this is why I react so poorly to the idea that one should be able to work anywhere, with anything. It’s like saying one should be someone else. It’s silly.

  5. All of this is why I react so poorly to the idea that one should be able to work anywhere, with anything. It’s like saying one should be someone else. It’s silly.

    Current neurological studies find that we are all as different from each other as out thumb prints. So much for overarching scientific principles that would make us out to be basically all the same.

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