Academic common room
Collegiality sorely lacking
Eira1649 · 28/05/2022 23:54
One co-worker in a fairly large academic department. Said colleague regularly organises meetings with other colleagues, some social, which very clearly I would benefit from going to. (Of course, social meetings I don't expect to be invited to necessarily.) I see them in our shared calendar. I'm never invited. All of which means that I miss out on useful, even vital, information and sharing of ideas which would undoubtedly positively impact my work, my morale and, importantly, the service I provide for students.
There's little I can do about somebody else's mindset and behaviour, so I'm trying to make my peace with it as resentment and upset doesn't make things any better. For my part, if I think it's useful for us both to see someone, I don't think twice about involving my colleague.
The broader point is this - working in higher education isn't the liberal, sharing, co-operative setting that I harboured visions of before I stepped into it from another sector. Is anyone else equally disillusioned? Of course, there are exceptions and some colleagues are properly collegial but it's tough on me that my immediate colleague isn't, at least as far as I'm concerned. Sometimes, I feel as though I'm back at school.
GCandproud · 29/05/2022 10:25
I know what you mean. All the people I know who post on Twitter about how collegial they are and how they get so much support from their wonderful colleagues are part of exclusive cliques that are quite hostile to strangers. My face has never really fitted (not sure why) so I constantly feel like I am on the outside in my discipline. It’s tough but I just tell myself I have to keep going and not get too down about it. You’re not alone though.
damekindness · 29/05/2022 13:47
If you stay long enough in a department you can see that who is part of the in crowd and who is not can really vary over time. It tends to be related to who is the HoD (and interestingly I notice that past HoDs can become persona non gratis after they step down)
Eira1649 · 31/05/2022 19:23
Thank you, all of you! GCandproud - I hope that things improve for you. Being an outsider can be deeply upsetting and it's so unnecessary. It doesn't take much to include people and it makes for happier work relationships, and of course ultimately a better service for students.
Yes, David Lodge! He nails it!
And HoDs: ours isn't popular (sadly for quite good reason) but, at the same time, he doesn't make much (any) effort to bring junior colleagues like myself up. (I've been in the job a long time but I'm pretty much stuck in my role and on my grade.) Thank you again for your support. Warm wishes to you all.
JenniferBarkley · 02/06/2022 09:10
Completely agree. I moved to academia from financial services and I initially found a shocking lack of collegiality. I'm used to it now, and our group is mostly very nice so it's fine - it doesn't hold me back professionally which helps, and now I have a rep as a collegiate person which I like.
But yeah, academics are a strange bunch!!
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