I find myself in a strange position. While always grateful for any paid employment, I am now in a cul-de-sac of dead end tasks with no way out. Odd, that in an institution of higher learning there should be such a limited view of dealing with employees, especially if they have had measurable success in their work.
I don’t think this is only happening in my institution. It is ‘endemic’ of this sector. On the one hand, the ‘job for life’ rights that many academic staff currently enjoy, and on the other, the self-aggrandisement of those in academia. These two things conspire to clog up any forward movement of talent, new blood, new ideas and new opportunities.
I am busy looking for new work, and am keen to try new things, or things I’ve done before, but more. All I ask is the apparently impossible: formal acknowledgement of skills being brought to bear, work load, success criteria being met and exceeded, and commensurate payment as reward. I am a great believer in bonuses, they not only sort out the jobs-worth from the motivated but they build in a desire to succeed in the knowledge that extra money is on the table.
University is often not the place to achieve success, not in todays climate. Unless you are already fortunate enough to have your PhD (pointless in many disciplines) but to also have a ‘clear track record of published research’ (pointless in many disciplines), as well as a good current job title, you are not going to get past first base for any real job. So, you’re left with the ‘lacky work’ which can usually be done by anybody who can read and write.
After 6 years of often highly successful work in my institution, in a variety of roles, I find myself in the unenviable position of having actually achieved nothing towards furthering any professional career. It’s quite amazing, and is another of the new realities of Barnett’s supercomplexity, in that much good work is done by unseen staff who are not even mentioned in despatches.
Relevant to this is an anecdote from yesterday: some students told me they had set up their own society to cover all the areas of learning ‘that university doesn’t cover’. An indictment if ever there was to the incompetence of university provision and career ‘refresh rate’.