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Author Topic: angry post-tenure  (Read 17139 times)
aprilmay
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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2012, 10:39:47 AM »

I am glad that you posted this so you and others can see that these feelings are shared by many post-tenure. Many of my colleagues have had negative feelings after tenure. I know a few who realized that feel stuck at their current institution because they know that moving to another university in a senior position is often harder than at a junior level, and although they are glad to be tenured, they are not at the type of school they initially wanted. They are at a teaching oriented school and would like to be at an R1, but that type of move at this stage is unlikely. They focus a lot on what could have been, where in reality they have made a huge accomplishment. I have also seen people become more disillusioned after tenure because they see how things operate behind the curtain. They see people get tenure who they think did not deserve it, and see people denied who they believe should have made it. For many, they figure out that although they have tenure, they are not actually working any less because they want to stay on top of their research/grant game. The realization that they will still need to work weekends and holidays to do this can be rough. Survivor guilt is very common where you see people who appear equally smart and hard working, but do not make tenure or end up at a school different from what they had hoped.  I did not have any of these strong negative feelings post tenure, what you are describing is not at all uncommon and will pass in time. For now, can you focus on some of the positives of tenure? Have you done anything to celebrate?
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arty_
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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2012, 1:09:58 PM »

I agree with instructorman.  Focusing on my sabbatical plans is a great way to get out of the post-tenure PTSD-esque ( I do not want to trivialize PTSD.) emotions. I found it very hard to transition to (1) getting a TT job after it took so very many years to do so, and now (2) getting tenure, which was also the entire focus of six years. It takes a while to stabilize and to regroup. Somehow getting to full is not nearly as enticing a goal.  Not here anyway.  The salary bump is negligible.
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brixton
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2012, 4:04:23 PM »

I described post-tenure  this way:  Life in academia is like living in a golden cage.  You're fed and clothed, and given a remarkable amount of self-determination in your little cage, which is what makes it golden.  But it is still a cage. Once you get tenure, you suddenly realize that this little cage might be your home for lif.  Doesn't have to be, but given the job market, and work/stress/anxiety that went towards winning that cage,  there is a good chance that it might. 

That's the sadness.  If your golden cage comes with barbs (a hostile department, a campus distant from family, a tough bureaucracy), I can see how it might bring anger too.  Sabbaticals allow you out of the cage, briefly.  But beware:  the difficulty is that you have to eventually crawl back in, which only makes it smaller.

So, one (meager!) consolation is: those who don't get tenure aren't condemned to the cage.  Assuage your guilt there.  And for those of us in the cage:  it's not so bad -- start new research, build interesting alliances, commit yourself to what you believe in, and don't do things you don't, while chirpping away...
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oldfullprof
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Representation is not reproduction!


« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2012, 4:21:06 PM »

My chair overstepped shortly after I received tenure.  She and I had a good yelling session.  I think she believed that "big seniority" was perpetual, and I don't.  She did report me to Dean Joyboy, who gaved me condescending looks for a while.  I'd stiff face him back.
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Taste o' the Sixties
instructorman
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Posts: 82


« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2012, 11:12:20 PM »

Quote
My chair overstepped shortly after I received tenure.  She and I had a good yelling session.  I think she believed that "big seniority" was perpetual, and I don't.  She did report me to Dean Joyboy, who gaved me condescending looks for a while.  I'd stiff face him back.

I find this delightfully funny. I think I'd enjoy working around you.
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tenured_cat
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2012, 2:28:29 PM »

My last rubber stamp is scheduled for the end of this month and then I'll finally be tenured after five years here and a total of 18 years of working towards it. I'm not angry (right now at least), but I've taken the last four days (since being told and, luckily, we're on break) to sort things out.

Plus side: for the last five years, all I did at some point brought up the thought "this is going to be good for tenure" - I hate thinking like that, it seems manipulative! For the last seven months, I've been so scared that I started having anxiety attacks (having been threatened by a junior admin critter was pretty bad) - that's over. I'm not getting fired at the end of this semester - now that's really, really good!  :)

On the extra plus side: due to a complete lack of any social/personal life here, I'm very, very unhappy - nobody around to even tell about the tenure achievement and to celebrate with, BUT, looking at Chronicle ads for admin critters, I will give this two more years and then go on the market to go completely over to the dark side (as a department chair, I'm sitting on the fence). Having earned tenure means I can leave whenever I want!

Yes, OP, the process is brutal. Make plans for the rest of your professional life and, if that includes staying in the academy, make it more humane for those who come after you.
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"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this." - Anonymous
brixton
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Posts: 3,130


« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2012, 3:24:52 PM »

...  Having earned tenure means I can leave whenever I want!

Depends upon where you are and what you do after tenure, but not necessarily.
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oldfullprof
Ridiculous
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Posts: 11,359

Representation is not reproduction!


« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2012, 6:41:49 PM »

Quote
My chair overstepped shortly after I received tenure.  She and I had a good yelling session.  I think she believed that "big seniority" was perpetual, and I don't.  She did report me to Dean Joyboy, who gaved me condescending looks for a while.  I'd stiff face him back.
I find this delightfully funny. I think I'd enjoy working around you.

Me you too.
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Taste o' the Sixties
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