Excessive service

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tuxthepenguin:
My service load has steadily increased over the last few years. I now do much more service than anyone else in the department - chair admits that it is at least twice the service load of the average faculty member. I was repeatedly told that it was needed by the department, that it was temporary, and that it would be fixed as soon as we had the opportunity. I didn't like it, but I didn't really have a choice. I worked 75 hours last week and didn't touch my research. I had more to do at the end of the week than at the beginning.

The department recently made some important decisions. They decided that things are good the way they are, so we should work on expanding into new areas. If anything, it would lead to more service rather than less. Chair played the role of outsider, doing nothing to support me, because he wants everyone to like him.

The easy solution is to talk to the chair about my service load. Done many times. He won't even reassign a few small tasks that could be done by anyone else.

The obvious solution is to get a different job. Based on this experience, I'm probably moving to the private sector. That takes time and it doesn't help me now.

The other solution is the nuclear option. I refuse to do anything beyond a normal load. That would be risky - I could potentially get fired - and it would mess up the careers of several grad students. Further, it would not look good to future employers. It would be stressful going to the office day after day at war with the chair and two-thirds of my coworkers.

Any suggestions?

larryc:
Would you really be fired for resigning from some committees? Do you have a trusted senior colleague to whom you could speak?

I'd suggest something like the following email: "Dear Chair: After a 75-hour work week last week, by no means my first, I have realized that I can no longer effectively do tasks X, Y, and Z. I hereby resign from those committees. Sincerely, Dr. Tux"

Talk to someone more senior first, however.

tuxthepenguin:
Quote from: larryc on October 14, 2012, 10:56:41 PM

Would you really be fired for resigning from some committees? Do you have a trusted senior colleague to whom you could speak?

I'd suggest something like the following email: "Dear Chair: After a 75-hour work week last week, by no means my first, I have realized that I can no longer effectively do tasks X, Y, and Z. I hereby resign from those committees. Sincerely, Dr. Tux"

Talk to someone more senior first, however.


We can't resign from committees. The chair assigns you to them and you're supposed to do the work. A big chunk of the service is advising grad student research. I'm the only one in my area that can advise in my area.

melba_frilkins:
If you can't resign, what happens if you just quit attending meetings and/or fail to do the homework assigned in committees?




daniel_von_flanagan:
Quote from: tuxthepenguin on October 14, 2012, 11:44:04 PM

A big chunk of the service is advising grad student research. I'm the only one in my area that can advise in my area.
Do you mean thesis advising?  If so, set a quota, and turn down requests above that quota.  If your quota is appreciably higher than the grad student/faculty ratio, and your chair asks you to advise more students, then you are in a good position to ask to be released from some or all of the other committees in return. - DvF

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