That’s my life these days! And it’s why you haven’t heard from me very much lately. I suppose it’s true for most of us advanced–not to say superannuated–Associate Professors.
I’m trying to get a grip on this friends, but it seems like already I’m swamped with requests for letters of recommendations, manuscripts to review for presses, articles to review for journals, serving on a postdoctoral fellowship committee, and all kinds of worthy work that I want to do, because 1) it’s only fair, considering that I have been the beneficiary of this kind of work from others, and 2) it’s probably the most direct way I can advance feminism in my field and my profession. By writing letters recommending other feminists for jobs, fellowships, and publication, I’m effectively throwing down the ladder and trying to pull others on board.
I’m not complaining–truly I’m not. (The complaining starts below, in the next paragraph.) I really like this work, because it probably gets me a bigger bang for my feminist buck even than my own writing, whether scholarly or on the non peer-reviewed world-wide timewasting web.
Speaking of bucks: I want more money for the work I do, because it seems like my university relies on us donating a lot of volunteer labor not just to our professions, but to our research and teaching as well. And then we can spend our own damn time updating our faculty web pages, so that my university can brag about all of the work I’m doing that they’re not paying for! Such a deal!
Here’s a sad fact: the advance I got for my book is nearly a third of my annual salary, which is testament to 1) Yale University Press’s optimism about my book, and 2) how little I earn at my day job. My university is now undergoing a “pay equity review” for all women full professors–but I’m not yet promoted so I’m sure I’ll miss out on that, too, just like I didn’t get a salary increase for tenure and promotion. All I got was a $5,000 cash prize, with only my merit increase for that year added to my base salary. Can you believe it?
How are the rest of you muddling through? Do you have any advice for how to manage the kind of invisible workload I describe above, which gets folded into the useless, unrewarded category of “service?” Maybe more importantly, how do you manage the frustration and anxiety of working for twenty years and publishing two books and still making only in the mid-rage of what some recent college grads are making?