Sunday, February 8, 2009

Service Whores

Before you get your panties all up in a bunch, let me just extend a hearty “Thank You” to my colleagues who take on service responsibilities that I have zero interest in— you have saved me from countless meetings and tasks, leaving me with responsibilities that I can stomach (well, barely). I like to think we have formed an unspoken but reciprocal alliance. I’ll do what I can, you do what you can, and collectively we can spread the pain in a responsible manner. You, my sane colleagues, are not the subject of this post. For the distinct few who relish the opportunity to join any and every committee that exists, who completely abandon their teaching and research in favor of writing long meaningless documents and memos, who incessantly suggest that more random committees, advisory panels, and “groups” be created, you people are service whores. That’s right, service whores. You come in three distinct varieties: the Ambitious Whore, the Whore in Hiding, and the Crusader Whore. The Ambitious variety is gunning for an Associate Dean position. You really want to be the pimp, not the whore. Your motives are understandable, but the transparency of your actions is annoying. The Whore in Hiding has completely given up on teaching and research. For a multitude of reasons you have abandoned any hope of achieving success in either. You attempt to hide these shortcomings by filling your days with busywork. Your T&P evaluations will be filled with praise regarding your deep commitment to University service (we will all conveniently fail to mention that you started half of those committees and nothing tangible has resulted from any of them). You have fooled yourself into thinking that your whoring is just temporary (just a stopgap measure to pay the bills, you’ll stop as soon as the rent is paid, as soon as the car payment is made, etc… but you won’t). The Crusader Whore is elusive. To be honest, I have never met one. But I am willing to assume they exist. The Crusader has legitimate concerns and wants to provoke meaningful change, essentially the patron saint of university prostitution. Unfortunately, the Crusaders deeds will not be recognized until long after their death, while the remaining service whores will continue to drive us all batshit with their incessant unprotected servicing.

9 comments:

  1. Now this was funny. Funny in the way that only real (or at least academic) life can be.

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  2. Whew! I was half expecting the first comment to get all philosophical about the joys of service.

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  3. Hmmmm.....well there ARE joys in service, but only in retrospect;-)

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  4. Annieem, you provide a much needed dose of optimism. :)

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  5. Ah, gee willigers, Dr. No! Just call me little Suzie Sunshine;-)

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  6. Excellent articulation of the situation. I am regularly frustrated by how many other requirements make it difficult to do the best possible job teaching, which they keep telling us is NUMBER ONE.

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  7. Funny post. I sort of agree with the last commenter, though, only under the perverse rules set by the administration, whose dream is to turn academia into a business and us into white collar workers, do the characters that you describe flourish.

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  8. Very funny! I am currently hiding from all the pimps and whores so that I can focus on my teaching, which is in sore need of attention after I spent all of last year as an accreditation whore.

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