I bleg your pardon: tips for moving onward and upward?

Nicoleandmaggie have a letter from a reader who got a new, better job (yay!) who wants advice for the new job. And they apparently think that my readers can help! A little flava:

At my current institution, I did way too much service (sitting on university wide committees, directing a program) partially because I didn’t say no, partially because the institution is full of men who think that female professors should be on all committees relating to teaching and do all service, partially because I was thrown under the bus by my chair and dean. Needless to say, I am delighted to be moving. And that I am better at saying no now than I was 5 years ago.
My big question is this: What advice would you give someone who was moving about adapting to the new place? Are there things that faculty who have come to your departments / former departments did that drove you nuts? That you saw as particularly savvy or smart? I am bringing lots of credit on the tenure clock to the new place, so I have one year there before I go through the tenure process, if that matters. 

Readers, can you help?  Go leave your advice in the comments over at the Grumpies.  I think they’ve pretty much got it covered, but you always think of things that I don’t.  (I’m a little worried about the short tenure clock, but I also think that could be a good thing in that it sounds like they’re ready to tenure her and she won’t have time to pi$$ off too many people, because there are sure to be at least one or two pi$$y people.  Right?)

5 thoughts on “I bleg your pardon: tips for moving onward and upward?

  1. I can’t imagine a department deciding to hire someone with that short of a time to run before a tenure decision if they didn’t expect and strongly intend for tenure to happen, based on a careful consideration of the evidence at hand before the decision to hire. It’s always good to be reasonably affable and cooperative before tenure is in place, but that’s too short of a time to create a profile of “can’t say no” for subsequent reference. At my place I can only think of one occasion when we hired anyone already on the track elsewhere (that’s just how the institution operates), and I’m pretty sure that the collective bargaining agreement requires them to start over on the clock.

    Best wishes


  2. Smart stuff? Praising what works well at your new place, avoiding a lot of grousing or comparison (“At Old U, we did it this way!”) and reaching out for a one-on-one with some of your new colleagues as you’re preparing to settle in. Try to figure out who is both helpful and reasonably sane: hopefully more than one person fits that bill. Ask them for some guidance – what’s the best use of your time, best service to agree to/most important to avoid on your tight tenure clock. If there’s someone who’s recently gone up for tenure, they might have a good idea about what’s involved and what might trip you up in the weird wording of some paperwork.

    Good luck with the new job!


  3. Say nothing but nice things about your former institution, no matter how you feel; and do not become a receptacle for complaints about your new institution. Think of your first year as a “listening tour,” in which you try not to give opinions about much while you focus on learning the terrain.

    Three years after becoming the New Kid, I *still* find aspects of my new institution mysterious. I also have clarity that my prior institution was better in some ways; worse in others. When I left I was bitter about some things, particularly their surprising diffidence about keeping me, but that has faded in a recognition that these two places are just really different, and that many things about my old shop provide a perspective on the new shop that is really valuable.


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