Beware, all ye who enter...
I remember receiving a bit of advice many years ago, prior to beginning my first faculty job. I don't recall who gave it (though I suspect it was my graduate advisor)--but it was very simple and, or so I am rapidly learning, very wise. The advice was just this: "Don't say yes to everything."
Although I have been in a full-time faculty position for over seven years, this is my first year in a tenure-track job. Like many people who find themselves in a new job (or so I expect), my initial inclination was to take on as much as I could--and so...you guessed it, I Said Yes to Everything. As far as I can tell through introspection, several things led me down the garden-path to this venerable New-Faculty Trap:
- Excitement about being in a new job.
- Overoptimism about how much I could take on.
- A desire to show that, indeed, I was the right person to have hired.
Alas, I am now very much wishing I hadn't Said Yes to Everything. Things are not a disaster, by any means. But I will say the person who gave me the initial piece of advice was exactly right. Saying Yes to Everything is a New-Faculty Trap. And so, I figured, it might be helpful to pass the advice along.
Therefore, let it be said, to all those of you who will listen (as well as to those of you who won't): yes, you may be tempted; yes, you may be optimistic; and yes, you may want to show that you belong--but no, for your sake...and this really does deserve to be put in bold...don't say yes to everything. Pace yourself, taking on just a little bit more than you have before. You'll thank me later. :)