If you don’t value your time, nobody else will value it either.
I think the goal with service is to do just enough and no more than that. The goal is to do something visible, something that will help you professionally, and most importantly, something that has a set goal and a set ending date.
I like: admissions, scholarships, organizing speaker series, etc.
I avoid like the plague: faculty senate, women’s faculty group, diversity committees, etc.
Hm… I notice that some of these time-sucks are things that are supposed to help women and minorities. Ironic. I blame the patriarchy.
How to get out of unwanted service? Volunteer for wanted service ASAP and use that service as an excuse to not possibly have time for other types of service. For example, an untenured professor is only supposed to be on one school-wide committee. I begged onto the university scholarship committee. I said that it will help my work on the admissions committee and will help us to build a good student body. Now when I am asked (again) about the women’s faculty group, I will say, Oh, I’m sorry, I’m already on a university-wide committee and my mentors say that as an untentured professor I shouldn’t take any more time away from my research by being on more than one outside committee.
#2 says: I agree with you. However, this tactic works much less well when you don’t have enough faculty to do everything that needs to be done. I do more service than I would like, but I still say no a lot. Small departments make this hard. My senior colleagues want to protect my time, but stuff has to get done, somebody has to do it, and they value my input. Oh well. At least they are nice!
#1: No, I definitely agree that we need to do some service. But we don’t need to do MORE than our fair share (even if we’re missing that essential get-out-of-work free Y chromosome, IBTP) , and we certainly don’t need to be on committees that meet all the time and never produce anything but whining. I love my department because we don’t have very much of the not producing anything committees (even the curriculum committee doesn’t meet without an end-goal in advance) and our chair has allowed a lot of administrative things to be outsourced to professional administrators (aka highly qualified administrative assistants), which hasn’t resulted from any complaints from me!