My colleague and I are the respective heads of the two main tracks in our program. Since we were appointed heads, the workload for this job has grown enormously, and it will be growing more next year because of additional restructuring and growth at the university level. Last year was awful and I was so burned out. This year was awful (though I was on leave so missed much of it) and my colleague, who is not on leave, also burned out. (He’s going on leave next year.)
So we met together with the department head about long-term planning. We talked about the increased load and what we’re already doing and the things that we do that can’t be measured or are difficult to measure. We talked about how our research has suffered and we’re worried about the future. We talked about how we could take leadership positions in the uncertain future– there will be ad-hoc committees and either we can lead them because we have the time to do so or we could try our best to avoid them because we need breathing room because we were over-burdened.
So my colleague who is already doing an additional job is losing his summer salary for that job but gaining a teaching reduction (which is now worth more to him), and I am taking on a new additional job (one that incorporates some of the junior faculty mentoring that I’m doing anyway). In a couple of years we will also be getting an associate department head to take on some of the current responsibilities that are being shared by the department head and the faculty in addition to new responsibilities.
I don’t know if this will be a one-off or if it will be for as long as we take these responsibilities, but I can definitely use the time and I’m no longer dreading going back to the grind as much as I had been.
Still, a reminder that my leave is more than half over now and I really need to get a lot more done, even if papers keep getting rejected. And if I ever want to leave, I need to get some grant money!