Monday, April 27, 2009


Ok, so I've got a dilemma re: a service "opportunity" for next year. A colleague of mine is terribly over-committed. This colleague has been our department's representative on two related Very Important University-Wide committees. We'd discussed me taking these over not next academic year but the year after. Now, the colleague thinks that it would be best just to step down now.

These committees are so important that there would be a department vote for who would serve as our representative. The thing is, if I chose to be nominated, I think I'd most likely win.

  • I really do care about the work that these committees do.
  • I think I'd be a really strong advocate for our department.
  • Strong service in this area would give me exposure university-wide, and would contribute to developing skills that could lead me into administration someday, should I want to head in that direction.
  • This would be my way off of a university-wide committee on which I serve currently that I think is totally stupid.
  • Taking this on would be time-consuming.
  • This is my first year post-tenure, and a large part of me wants not to take on something of this magnitude.
  • There is no reason why I really have to do this now. It's not like I won't be able to do this service in the future if I want.
  • I've got a big professional service thing that I need to begin organizing in earnest throughout this year, and that plus this may effectively put the kibosh on any kind of real research agenda. Or not. I don't know.
At the heart of my ambivalence is that on the one hand taking on this service task would put me closer toward my goal of world domination. Well, perhaps that's saying it too strongly, but it would allow me to have a voice in some very important things. I like that idea a whole lot. On the other hand, with world domination comes a huge time commitment and responsibility. I like that part of it not so much.

I think I need to discuss it with my chair.

In the meantime, though, what do you all think?


helenesch said...

I can see why you're struggling with this decision. Is there someone else who can do it if you decide not to (or decide to wait another year)? I often think about that, and I'm more inclined to say 'yes' if I think there's no one else who can do an adequate job.

Be careful! Having just gotten tenure, you're likely to find this kind of thing arising a lot...

Belle said...

Gah. This sounds really familiar. Can you take the one that means the most to you? Two is insane; one will likely kill your research.

Susan said...

Yes, why do the two have to go together? But also, there's usually a bit of a dip post-tenure, so taking on this new assignment, if it interests you, might be a change of focus.

But, of course, I find it hard to say no. . . but do what feels right. This is ultimately not a rational decision.

Dr. Crazy said...

The two don't actually *have* to go together... it's just that it can end up making things more irritating if they don't. This is something that I'm going to talk to my chair about, actually. Only one committee actually requires a dept. vote, and the other is appointed by the chair. Historically, we've done it both with one and with two representatives.... Hmmm. A lot would depend on who would be willing to fill the second slot.

Bardiac said...

Hard decision!

My sense is that you're really smart on committees, and hard working, so I think you should do it because it will help the community. Besides, if you do it, then I don't have to try, right? :)

timna said...

I'm ok with the idea of world domination if you're the one doing it.

Bridgett said...

What will best help you speed towards full professor? Certainly not both, which would help to slow your research and publication and make you an unhappy Dr. Crazy. Perhaps one, with a negotiated course release for the combination of your professional service thingie (you are asking for a grad assistant to help you with that, right?) and service to the department.

Yes to world domination (ha ha!) but no to killing yourself with uncompensated work that keeps you from getting the promotions and wage bumps that come with them.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I'd check with the chair, and also, if both are really complementary, and they could get you off other, stupid committee, it might be a good trade-off. I'm all for being on committees you *want* to be on!

I leave it to my dean to tell me if I have too much committee work -- he's usually good about that!

Dr. Crazy said...

Ok, great meeting with chair and with colleague giving up the committees. As it now stands, I'm tentatively interested in taking over one (not both) committees (as it would get me out of committee I find tiresome. Also, it would mean I'm doing work that I really do think that I can do well, and that's wicked important. Also, it's going to actually get me some help on pushing through the stuff for the major revisions that I've spear-headed. If it happens.

However, I said that if they wanted one person serving on both that they'd have to find a person who wasn't me.

We'll see how it shakes out, but I think it may all end up being a good thing once it all gets sorted. Famous last words :)