Employment Situation-Would Appreciate Advice

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by bunnspecial, May 28, 2017.

  1. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    I hesitated about posting this, but I'd appreciate getting a different perspective on if I'm even correct in my feelings about the matter.

    Here's some back-ground. First of all, I work for a public research university, and hold a masters degree in chemistry from that same institution. I work in the chemistry department of that same university.

    My current position was created by the department chair for a couple of reasons:

    1. To supplement someone who had hired into a different position and really was not qualified for certain aspects of that position.

    2. To "keep me there" until the scientific instrument specialist retired(at the time, he'd planned to do it about a year from the time I was hired).

    The pay was MUCH lower than I expected, but I had an informal promise that it would be brought to where it should be with teaching pay and of course would get there when I moved into the scientific instrument specialist position.

    For a while, this worked well. I was teaching a couple of credit hours a semester, which did move me into what I thought was reasonable compensation.

    In the past few months, though, a few things have changed.

    First of all, HR has cracked down on enforcing a couple of policies with regard to hourly employees(things that I didn't know existed) which have meant that I've gone from teaching ~15 credit hours last year to only 4 this year. That's a significant financial hit, as it's basically a loss of $10K in income for me over the course of the year. This is not at the department level either-they've had to scramble and find people to fill the courses I'd normally teach, and in fact have cancelled a couple just because they couldn't find anyone.

    Second, the scientific instrument specialist retired Sept. 30, 2016. I immediately took on the majority of his duties. This wasn't an issue then, as I had a gentleman's agreement with the chair that they were working on a reclassification. I don't want to oversell myself, but having someone in that position is absolutely critical to the operation of the department.

    We drug things on, and I signed the reclassification/revised job description on Jan. 3 of this year. Our business manager submitted it(to HR) a few weeks later. Per published university policy, this must be processed within 30 days, although at the time HR said "6 to 8 weeks."

    In the mean time, something big happened. The interim president issued a sweeping edict effectively halting all spending and essentially any other expenditures. It slackened up after a week or so, but I still have to justify any expenditure out my rear end even if it's a critical teaching-related expense.

    In the interim, my reclassification has been halted at the HR level.

    I've been waiting it out, but am nearly to my breaking point on this. Scientific instrument specialists(a job title which I'm fully qualified to have, both by education and experience) do not grow on trees, and even in this area I'm currently making a little over half of the low salary for one. I don't want to oversell myself, but were I to leave my department would be in trouble both in terms of education and research until I were replaced-and the simple fact of the matter is that they CAN'T replace me for what I'm currently being paid. That's not to mention other non-quantifiable stuff like the fact that I know the quirks of our department instruments as well as that I already have good working relationships with the vast majority of our faculty. I've been in the department nearly 8 years, and even though I can't claim this as much as someone who has been there 30+ years I do have a fair bit of institutional memory.

    In any case, the department chair and the unit business manager(the person to whom I directly report) are "on my side" so to speak, but there's nothing that they can do to push it with the higher ups.

    I'm actively looking for jobs in my field, but I'm not sure about how much I should "tip my hand" on this so to speak. I really DON'T want to leave, but at the same time it's going to be necessary if I can't get a fair wage for what I know and do.

    I know that to a point the "squeaky wheel" gets the grease, but I'm beyond being the squeaky wheel and am afraid I may be at the point where the squeaky wheel gets replaced. Budget pressure is such all over the university that I don't have any escalation paths beyond the department level. I called HR once, and basically they said "don't ever bother us again-we only communicate these things with your supervisor." I am unable to even get in touch with the dean of my college(she will not answer emails and her secretary won't answer or return phone calls), but from what I've been told she will not be sympathetic.

    I know that my business manager and chair are actively fighting for me(I know that not just based on what they tell me, but also things other people have told me), but at the same time there's only so much I can do.

    Can anyone give any advice? As much as anything, I'm just venting but at the same time I'd still appreciate some advice.
     
  2. Scepticalscribe, May 28, 2017
    Last edited: May 28, 2017

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #2
    How attached are you to your current position, colleagues, university?

    Are they worth the reduced salary, and - what is clearly reduced status, both professionally and financially - of the posts you are currently filling?

    All else being equal, do you wish to stay there?

    My advice, for what it is worth, is to seek similar posts in universities of similar or better rank. If you are offered one - with presumably a better salary - show this to your current employers and ask them to consider matching or exceeding it.

    However, expect them to call your bluff. And be prepared to accept this other job offer, because, to a large extent you will have burnt some of your bridges with your current employers.

    As things stand, you are doing job 'x' for salary 'y'. That is your level in their eyes, and - having managed to get away with underpaying you - do not expect them to remedy or address that, because, in their eyes, this is what you are worth.

    Re academic support for your situation, well, I've been there, too, and will say - from personal experience - that academic promises, especially the sort of affable oral ones offered over cosy cups of coffee are worth little. Or rather, to be more precise, nothing. You will receive sympathy from them, and excellent references when you depart to fresh pastures; however, do not expect them to fight trench warfare on your behalf.

    Instead, in around a decade's time, when you have moved elsewhere, one of them may confide over a beer that they thought you were pretty hard done by.

    Good luck.
     
  3. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #3
    Don't "tip your hand" to your current employer. At least not in any detailed way. At most, you might let them know in an offhand way that you're looking around. If that may have a negative effect on the possibility of a future offer from them, then think of that as foreshadowing.

    Give yourself a specific deadline date. Do not give your current employer a specific deadline. Doing so will likely come across as a latent threat: "If I don't get an offer for X dollars by Y date, I'm outta here." The normal way for organizations to deal with threats of leaving is to say "K THX BAI".

    The reason for giving yourself a concrete deadline is mainly to establish clarity. After that date, and absent a concrete acceptable offer, you can focus entirely on finding a new employer. It's a "giving yourself permission" deadline as much as anything else. Also, the exercise of actually establishing a sensible date gives you a basis for some concrete financial planning. Cash-flow, savings level, burn rate, etc. are all easier to analyze if you have a concrete date you can work from.

    If by some chance an acceptable concrete offer comes in after your deadline, you can decide what to do about it then. The key thing is that you'll be doing your own planning to meet your own goals without having to take the possibility of an offer into account. In project management terms, you've eliminated a task dependency.


    To me, this sounds like poor management, and they're hoping for attrition to take out the people they consider non-essential (see "foreshadowing" above). It also sounds a bit like upper management isn't entirely clear on who is essential, or what tasks might be essential, and are mainly looking to cut expenses no matter what the result might be. That kind of cutting usually takes off some limbs before they realize how much they're bleeding (see: Black Knight). The flip side of that is it's a university, so they may think they have an endless supply of grad students who can do "the instrument specialist thing" at little or no expenditure. Time will tell.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Location:
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    #4
    Excellent post, with thoughtful advice well worth heeding.
     
  5. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #5
    Start reading the listings in the chronicles of higher education and find yourself an established position somewhere.
     
  6. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #6
    Thank you everyone for your advice. It's what I was afraid of, although I had sort of resigned to it.

    @Scepticalscribe

    I do have a significant amount of affinity for my current employer as well as the people with whom I work. To be honest, I love going to work every day, but part of my posting this is if my love of my working there is worth what is an increasing feeling of being taken advantage of.

    @chown33

    Thank you again.

    I actually have already set a deadline of sorts in my head. I have a teaching contract through the middle of August, and feel that I need to stay and honor that. Leaving before the class starts would put my employer in a bad position. I feel it important to honor MY obligations to them even if they haven't extended me the same courtesy.

    In any case, I've spent some time looking this evening, and conveniently enough I checked one of the other universities in the area and they have a listing for a similar position to what I'm doing with a starting salary over twice what I'm now making. I'm going to proceed with applying for this position, although it's most certainly not the only position for which I'm going to apply.
     
  7. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a

    OriginalAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    #7
    You've got to take care of yourself. No one else will. As for "tipping" your hand and saying you are actively looking for work elsewhere, I don't believe it's a bad thing to do. I would talk with your supervisor and go over the history. Let them know you prefer to stay but you have to make a living. You were told X, Y, Z and none of them came through. If you take it a little further, write up something they can pass on that sells your position. It can't come across as threatening. Make it a business case illustrating the risks and their impacts on the department. If your business manager and chair are really in your court, they will understand. If you hand them your business case, it will help them support you further.

    It is not right that they gave you more responsibility without more pay. It's one thing to do that for a little while to "prove" you can handle it. According to you, that's not a question. But as long as you continue to handle the scientific instrument responsibilities, they aren't motivated. You have to let those responsibilities slide and adversely impact their department. You had to get another job to help make ends meet, right?

    What the new President did isn't without precedent. When times are lean, cutbacks must be met to meet budgets. If anything, this is a sign it's time for you to move on anyway. Good luck with your interviews and remember to be yourself.
     
  8. Scepticalscribe, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
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    #8
    I have stayed - perhaps longer than I might otherwise have done - with a boss whom I hugely liked and respected enormously on a lower salary - with no regrets - because I had complete academic freedom and total support academically and professionally from that particular boss, whom I both liked and respected.

    Now, I do "get" that feeling of loving going to work everyday, - I've done it - and, in truth, it is worth a lot. A bounce in your step going to work is not what you find in the majority of positions where you will work, and it is worth far more than people realise (even a reduced salary).

    Given a choice between congenial colleagues (even if they tend to take you for granted), professional engagement, academic autonomy, intellectually stimulating work and a far better remunerated environment where the atmosphere is either toxic or barely tolerated, I know which I would take, (and have taken) for a few years at a time.

    Toxic is hard to deal with - even if you have a far better salary, an impressive job title, and are getting good experience; the emotional and psychological toll it can take are considerable, and you will not last as long in such an environment as it may well wear you down. Enjoying your work is worth more than you realise, and feeling safe and happy going to work is worth a lot.

    But, I can see where you are coming from in that my experience in the university world included plenty of those well intentioned, and well-meaning promises, - especially when you start - but these are always delivered orally, never in writing. In my experience, these are rarely followed through on, not least because you have already agreed to the conditions that you have accepted, and - in their mind - there is little reason to improve those conditions.

    And the truth of the matter is that whosoever succeeds you will probably receive far better conditions of employment.

    Besides, universities often suffer from a 'faraway hills are greener' syndrome, in that they take the staff they have (on the conditions those staff have agreed to work for) very much for granted, while looking longingly at staff elsewhere whom they will woo with the offer of better conditions.

    Of course, you should see out your obligations until mid August; professional pride and common decency would suggest that, but this should not prevent you from seeking other positions - and taking the hunt to do so seriously - in the meantime.

    Because, naturally enough, once you start hunting, you will most likely be offered one of the positions you have applied for, and that will raise the question of whether you wish to accept it - or merely use it to try to negotiate better conditions in your home university.

    This is something only you can answer for yourself, but my sense is that they will bid you adieu, shake hands, give you a good reference, and seek a replacement who will be given better pay and conditions.

    Good luck.
     
  9. decafjava macrumors 68020

    decafjava

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Geneva
    #9
    Oh boy this describes my situation and that of many of my colleagues this past year quite closely. I didn't want to bore the forum with the issue as I was and am busy with transitioning to a new career, I work in the "international" sphere not the UN but one of my NGO/IGO/think tanks here in Geneva and the environment has become toxic since the end of last year. This just to say you are not alone, it's not the last time and the advice you've been given is very astute.
     
  10. Arran macrumors 601

    Arran

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, USA
    #10
    Lots of good advice above.

    Bottom line: you have to drive it. Find yourself another job and go. Your current employer is getting an incredible deal as you generously subsidize their business operations (including their compensation, bonuses, etc). They're not going to change a thing.

    Why should your lifestyle, healthcare, pension, savings, etc. all take a hit? Stay where you are and it'll take you years to recover.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    Management has already proven their disregard for you. As has been stated, you've served this long with what they paid you.

    The sad fact is that we are all replaceable, even if it's harder to replace some versus others. Obviously they believe that they can find someone to replace you if they have to. Otherwise they'd be talking to you.

    If you threaten to leave and the response is "Meh" then you know. I understand loyalty, but as has also been mentioned you need to take care of yourself.
     
  12. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #12
    Holy moly...
    I've worked in UNOG for many years. ;)
    Good old times.
     
  13. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #13
    I appreciate everyone's advice once again.

    Just to update things a bit, I have submitted two applications to area universities and have had some conversations with a high-up chemist at a local major company(many of you have probably consumed their products).

    I also approached the chair about writing a letter of recommendation for me two weeks ago, and he said that he'd be happy to and that if I got an opportunity to take it.

    One of the positions I applied for is an almost word for word match for my current job "description" so I'm hopeful of at least securing an interview there.

    I'm especially optimistic about that one. The starting salary is roughly $20,000 higher than my current salary, and as I said it almost seems as if the job description was written for me.

    If nothing else, a job offer from the other university would give me a BIG bargaining chip if my current employer wants to keep me.

    I'm not overselling myself, once again, but I feel it's worth mentioning that my leaving would cause a significant hardship for my current department. They can't shuffle duties around and have someone else do the things I do-there are folks who could do some aspects of my job, but there's not any possible way it could be completely covered. I mention this because the same paperwork that's holding up my current re-class would absolutely, positively prevent even posting the job for hire. If there's a real threat of my leaving and the department makes that argument, they MIGHT be able to make the argument for me.

    In any case, if I do in fact get an offer, that would give me the upper hand with my current employer, as like I said if I'm offered the job at the other university I will take it unless my current employer matches it.
     
  14. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #14
    You should be careful with that. Employers who are reluctantly compelled to match an offer in order to retain an existing employee will often hold it against you. In case you're wondering, it's "the loyalty/fealty card", although it's generally not a two-way street (which shows how little they know about actual fealty and fiefdoms).

    It's much safer to play the "bid for my skills" game when none of the bidders is currently your employer. For some reason, they feel better when they win, and they also feel they can walk away at any time during the bidding. It's that ability to walk away without having lost anything that I think contributes to the hard feelings when bidding to retain. "Not winning the bid" is definitely not the same as "losing an employee".
     
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #15
    @bunnspecial: I agree with @chown33.

    I have been in your position: Truly, I have, - so, I do know exactly what it feels like (the frustration, that sense of being very much taken for granted, and somewhat patronised, the knowledge that you are damned good and that the student feedback serves to confirm that but that they will prefer to pay a less qualified outsider more than pay you what you may be truly worth) and - galling though it is to admit, it is my belief that they will let you go rather than lose face.
     
  16. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #16
    I think if he gets an offer from elsewhere and tries to get his current employer to match it, that they'll make an offer substantially below his new offer, but try to "puff up" a bunch of vague "benefits" to staying where he is. That's actually my second guess.

    My first guess (i.e. most likely outcome) is they'll put off communicating an actual decision until a day before the deadline, then hurriedly say "kthxbai", possibly with some vague "sword of Damocles" warning about making sure not to take any university equipment, information, files, contacts, blah-blah, lest he be liable for misappropriation thereof. Wish I could say I hadn't been there, but... been there. Oh, and make sure to fully document all the procedures for server and product maintenance, so the next sorry clown we rope into doing this thankless job will at least have a hope of performing it. (That sounds more bitter than it really was; it was more a comedy of incompetent management the last couple weeks before I walked out the door for the last time.)
     
  17. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #17
    Ben,

    As @Scepticalscribe and others alluded to, don't let comfort and complacency make you stay where you are if you're not properly compensated (not to mention disrespectful management). Many people fear and avoid change, "better the devil you know than the devil you don't" isn't necessarily true. Don't get fear of change get in your way.

    I would encourage you to explore your other opportunities. If your University truly appreciates your value they will find a way to retain you. I am confident you are very good at your job (I've found instructors outward passion for the subject is what makes the difference between a quality and lackluster instructor)- so if the University does not recognize your worth, I'm sure it's their loss.

    Ironically I was just talking to a woman in my neighborhood who has worked at tutor at local college for years without a raise. Basically she's in the same position as you. It sounds like this is an all too common problem in academia (and other jobs I'd imagine too).
     
  18. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #18
    I wanted to give a bit of an update to this.

    I am still actively looking for employment elsewhere, but there's some good and not so good news on progress at my current position.

    My job reclassification was finally-after 8 months-approved. Unfortunately, the new "offer" is frankly insulting. It's a $1.85/hour raise, which still places me well below the typical value of my position.

    I took on the duties of someone making twice my(old) salary and I knew that I would not be reclassified to that level, but it is unfathomable to me as to why it was not somewhere close. My direct supervisor made the argument that I only took "part" of his duties. I responded with the detailed listing of my predecessors 15 specific duties and of those 15, I am solely responsible for 14 of them. Someone else in the department has picked up 3/4 of the load of the 15th duty, but that was a relatively small part of my predecessor's job and their are aspects of that duty that my co-worker simply doesn't have the back ground or education to do completely.

    So, as I said, I'm continuing to apply and am hoping that SOMETHING works out. To be honest, for my current salary if I didn't have to have a way to "keep the lights on" I would simply turn in my two weeks notice on Monday.

    My direct supervisor has shown herself many times to be untrustworthy, but she honestly is the only one with whom I have a problem in my current workplace. I have my occasional disagreements with other colleagues, but they are always resolved amicably and I largely both like and respect all of them tremendously. My supervisor is a business person with no background in the sciences, and really has no comprehension of just what all I do or why the person who works across the hall from me can't do the majority of my job(and why I can't do the majority of his).

    As it is now, however, I have reached a decision that I am going to work strictly in accordance with my job description. My "JDF" in workplace parlance details specific duties and does not contain any language stating that I'm obligated to perform other duties as they arise. Specifically, that means that I will no longer do experimental design or assist with department research-there again that's something I have been doing for the past year but since it's not recognized I see no reason that I'm obligated to do it. I will no longer take on what I've called "special projects" for the upper level teaching labs-again something that I've done extensively in the past to make the courses successful, but something that is not addressed on my JDF. Finally, I will no longer provide in-department Mac repair, something that I've been doing for years.

    I hate to be that way, but I feel like I do need to draw a line in the sand and not let the department take advantage of my willingness to help with things I'm not obligated to do. This is a difficult decision for no other reason than it being the part I most enjoy, but I think it's also critical to show that someone is NEEDED for those roles. Of course, I will continue to do my assigned duties and do them to the best of my ability, but that is it.

    If a job comes up and I leave, I know that the department will be up a creek for several reasons. No one is irreplaceable and I realize that, but none the less there is no one who knows how to everything I do, and the faculty and staff both are stretched so thinly that even splitting up my current responsibilities would just not work. The university currently has a hiring freeze in place and they COULD NOT hire a replacement for me until that's lifted(likely not any time soon given the budget consideration and continued loss of donations due to the current mess including excess past spending and a current athletics scandal). Second, no one else qualified would DO the work I do now for my current pay.

    If I do leave, I'm sure that they're also counting on the retired guy from my position coming in to do things. He remains a close personal friend and helps me(less and less frequently now) but he's made it clear that his loyalty/assistance is to me and not to the department as a whole. If they want him to come back for specific thing, they will have to pay him and his rate for a day would probably be as much as my current semi-monthly checks.

    So, again, I'm still applying but will ramp up the hunting and applying tremendously over the next few weeks.
     
  19. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #19
    Sounds like a plan. No sense sticking around with an institution that seems to be taking advantage of you. Best of luck on the job hunt. Something will turn up.
     
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #20
    Well, I'm sorry to hear this, but not terribly surprised.

    Unfortunately, it may be time to start looking elsewhere.
     
  21. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a

    OriginalAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    #21
    So sorry you are going through all this. But it's a great learning experience for you. Good luck finding something else at a company/educational institution that will appreciate someone with your skills and apparent heart. You can't teach heart and it's one of the hardest qualities to find in people.
     
  22. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #22
    Another small update:

    This week was the first week back of the fall semester, and even though I'm still discontent with my pay I was once again reminded of just why I love my workplace and most of my colleagues.

    I had one low point where a colleague with whom I have a long history and some deep underlying friction(going back 6 years or so-he was my first advisor in graduate school) explode on me publicly over a minor issue and saw a half dozen others publicly defend me and put him in his place. There are jerks in every workplace and unfortunately he is one who will always be a thorn in my side, but ultimately it makes me appreciate how many folks there are "on my side."

    I am still actively searching for another job, but in any case I have a bit of other news on just exactly why my raise wasn't what was promised/expect.

    The request for reclassification was submitted with a job requirement of "Masters in Chemistry." The department chair(without my realizing it) had re-written portions of my submitted job description to reflect things that I was/am currently doing and those are things which any person with some knowledge in the field would require someone with a masters level education or higher. There was some correspondence(some of which was shown to me) reiterating that exactly why this is the case.

    In any case, when HR processed the reclassification, they arbitrarily changed the job requirements to "Bachelors in Chemistry, Anatomy, Biology, or related field."

    Our department chair is currently "at war" so to speak with HR over this change(and backed by the college's dean) as to the fact that regardless of who is in the position I'm holding, a masters degree in Chemistry is an absolute necessity. So, hopefully that will lead to a positive outcome in the interim.

    At the end of the day, however, I can't help but feel that the university is a sinking ship. We manage to make the news on a near daily basis over financial issues that were mostly swept under the rug under a previous president. An "extensive forensic audit" has shown that the previous president probably just barely toed the line of legality with regard to spending and compensation, but in any case it's caused the loss of some major big-name donors. Most notably, John Schnatter-aka Papa John-is holding back money now.
     
  23. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #23
    Alright, another update-

    First of all, I am still at my current employer.

    Apparently HR didn't "have a position" that matched up to what was requested, so they just decided to stick me in some other position that already existed and throw me a small bone on a pay increase...evidently it was thought that would shut me up rather than what it actually did-make me incredibly pissed off.

    As it currently stands, I am doing roughly 95% of the work of one previous employee and about 75% of another, and for that combined am being paid 3/4 of what the lower paid of those two employees. When I ask how this can objectively be considered reasonable, I get blank stares and hemming and hawing.

    Furthermore, we lost another employee in my department(moved to a different department) and we are expected to "absorb" losing him rather than replacing him. Although I'm not directly performing any of the duties which he previously performed, the resulting re-shuffle has left me with even more work.

    I am an FLSA non-exempt employee, which means that I am eligible to receive overtime pay. The simple fact is that I can't get all that I'm expected to do finished in a 37.5 hour work week. I've regularly been working 45-50 hours, which does mean better pay but also means that I feel like I don't have any life during the week. I'm also under constant scrutiny to justify WHY I have to work the hours I do.

    Even worse, the person with whom I work most closely has lately decided to take frequent extended vacations-a week or better at a time. I'm told that I just have to "deal with it" but have to virtually beg if-for the sake of my sanity-I ask to take an afternoon off or even need to schedule something like doctor's appointment.

    In short, despite the fact that I still love what I do, my work environment has become nothing short of toxic in my view. The department chair is doing all that he can and I truly feel like he is on my side, but at the same time his hands are tied by higher level administration.

    On a positive front, though, I have been invited to interview for a position similar to my current one at a university in Arkansas. To be honest, I'm flattered by being invited-in academia, the type of interview visit I'm receiving(all expense paid, two full days) is customarily reserved for faculty and not for staff. So, I will be going-the fact that they're willing to spend several hundred dollars on me to visit the campus makes me feel good about how they see me as a candidate for the job.

    IF I'm given an offer for that particular job, it would certainly be a tough decision as it would be a big move. Still, if it results both in the pay and the professional respect I was promised for my current position, I will certainly entertain it.

    I'm also continuing to watch for and apply for local positions.
     
  24. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a

    OriginalAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    #24
    Thanks for the update and GOOD LUCK on the interview!
     
  25. Roller macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #25
    I've been in academia for more than three decades and have changed positions several times. Each one meant leaving some colleagues with whom I greatly enjoyed working; a few of them remain close friends and collaborators to this day. I've also had to sell and buy houses and uproot my family to accommodate. With perhaps one exception, however, the moves were well worth the pain and expense.

    The arc of your posts, particularly the most recent one, strongly suggests to me that you need to leave. Of course, only you know your tolerance for change and the extent to which taking a position elsewhere would impact your life outside work. In searching for jobs, cast a wide net and draw on contacts you've likely made during your career. I would also advise you not to sell yourself short—your skills may be more in demand than you realize.
     

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