The end of July. It is less than three weeks for my very first semester at my new tenure track job. I have settled into my office and I am deep in preparations for my classes. Before arriving here, I was asking the question how to best play the game of departmental politics. The options are to take sides or to remain neutral. I have decided to not play any games and just to be myself, and take the side of the colleague in a departmental fight whose cause I believe to be the most rational.
Another issue that I have been facing the last couple of weeks is that my new colleagues have already found many house hold chores for me to do: Pricing and organizing new software for the student computer labs, initiating a student departmental club, writing a grant proposal for new instruments, becoming an active member in the student organization on the other end of the campus, etc. And my first paycheck doesn’t arrive until September 15. Teaching and Service and Scholarship – I understand, but how much service is too much? I am usually eager to participate in “extra-curricular” activities, but now I had planned to spend all my time on getting experimental results for publications, and it seems like every colleague has some other chore in mind that keeps adding to the list. So who do you keep happy? The most influential faculty, or the ones that you like. This is the first time for me where I will have to bear the feeling of compromising or having to balance between my principles and what gets me ahead in my career. Life as a graduate student and post-doc seems so much less complicated now. In addition everyone seems to know exactly, which Service activities and committees to join are best for me. Of course every colleague has something different in mind. Aaaaaaahhhhhh! I have the uneasy feeling that matters will only get worse.