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06/17/2021

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Good with the gods

I was in a small department with five people - one was pre-tenure. He ended up feeling he had to abstain from any important decision or he risked offending half the department. It was a very dysfunctional situation. I moved to somewhere better, leaving my @hole colleagues behind, and I then helped the junior person get a job elsewhere. I now have many points storied up with the gods. (They eat that stuff up)

Socrates

What do you mean by “departmental politics”?

Prof L

My sense is that it’s not wise to get involved in a contentious departmental culture. On the other hand, I think it can be bad to look like you a) don’t care or b) are passive or wishy-washy. So, speak up every once in a while, this can be done prudently. I engage, but I do think I’ve alienated important people and won’t get tenure if my case is at all borderline. People will be more focused on the weaknesses in your file if they want you gone; a negative vote will be much more readily justified. But I just hated being sidelined out of fear, or feeling like I couldn’t be myself or say the things I really thought. So I ignored the advice of well-meaning colleagues and jumped into the fray.

I think it’s delightful that someone does not know what is meant by departmental politics.

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