Well, it is that time of year again…time for faculty to submit their faculty activity reports…yeah. I call it my exercise in, “Look at me! Look at me!”
Over the years that I have done this report I have become a bit more comfortable with this notion that you have to be sure to do some of your own horn-blowing in academia; but, still as I do it now it seems a bit too self-promoting to sit comfortably with. Of course we do it for raise evaluation, so comfortable or not, the motivation to get it done is there. I think folks think that university faculty make oodles of money, but on the whole that is not true (some make oodles…I just make oo-). I saw the average salaries of K-12 teachers in the paper today and I dare say they make more than some university faculty (and by no stretch do I disagree that they earn it or deserve it – just making a comparison).
It seems crazy to go to school so long and wrack up so much student loan debt to find that so many others with dramatically less education or incurred expense make dramatically more than you…yes, indeed it seems crazy. Welcome to the reality of higher education. I guess you could say you have to be a little bit crazy to work here. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that you value what you do more than you value the amount of money you make. I think this is true for so many folks that work with people and families in a way that can dramatically affect the quality of their lives – be it in teaching, social services, community assistance, etc. Because…let’s face it…if you are not doing it because you value what you do over what you get paid you may be considered a bit crazy.
So, you know – I value what I do over what I get paid, but I still do my “Look at me! Look at me!” report annually as required. I try and remember a whole year’s worth of reasons why I deserve a raise. For someone who has a hard time remembering what happened last week this is quite a feat. Every year I ponder how I can keep better track next year so it won’t be such a chore to reflect back, but every year is busier than the last – who has time to collect such things?
It usually takes a number of days to get this report done. I have to write a bit and then go do other things. In the interim, things come back to me that I had forgotten about and when I sit back down I enter those. This goes on for days. Often after the report is turned in I think of other things I should have included. As if the five pages I submitted wasn’t enough stuff already…”LOOK AT ME!“…seriously, my ego on paper precedes me.
One of these years, when my salary is so flush and my position so secure that I care not about things such as raises my activity report will be reduced to one line on one page, “Another year of doing what I love – thank you very much!” Unfortunately, this year is not that year.
Day two hundred and thirty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da