Friday, June 12, 2009

When the Boss Guilt Trips

I'm not sure why people fall for it. Now if there's an implied threat behind it, then yes, it's understandable. But otherwise, let them screw themselves.

This story is not unusual in the education sector:
(“Jane”) received an offer and a contract for a new position at another university during exam week at her current institution. Her “old” job had not yet extended her contract (that typically happened at the start of the fall semester), so she would not break an agreement by leaving. As she notified her dean that she would be moving in the next few weeks, he was clearly upset.

Staring at his desktop, he said, “I hope you know what this will do to your colleagues. Because of the current budget and hiring freezes the board has instituted, we will not be able to replace you next year. This means that your colleagues will have to teach overloads to cover your courses. This is very unfair of you. I hope you have thought this through very carefully. It’s going to be hard not to think of you as a traitor, to some extent. If I were you, I’d rethink the other position and be loyal to your colleagues. Think about staying for their sakes.”
Teachers too often fall under the sway of selflessness. It's part of the job description, helping others. But those feelings should not extend to management, who will not pause to fire or stomp on teachers if it means protecting their own necks.

The private sector learned this years ago, about the time any pretense of lifetime employment ended. With the destruction of tenure, and increase in temporary or probationary positions, workers in the education sector should as well.

To her credit, "Jane" reportedly ignored the dean's tale of woe.

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