Friday, September 25, 2015

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 21st, 2015

Question (from "Old Fart Humanist"): My colleagues, to my face, call me "the gray eminence," because they perceive me as influential (well, I’m very well known in our profession). Behind my back, they call me "the old fart" and whisper things like, "Why doesn’t he step aside and make room for younger minds?"
It’s unnerving. I walk into a room for a meeting, and conversation suddenly ceases. Only a few younger colleagues have enough conscience or good manners to look guilty. Others ignore me unless they want something, such as a journal connection, a spot on a panel, or a grant recommendation.
I’m in my mid-60s, in good health, and I have excellent hearing. (My colleagues assume I don’t hear their conspiracies. Young people are so self-absorbed.) My courses get very good enrollments, and my teaching evaluations are excellent. I’m not costing a huge amount of money, since we haven’t had faculty raises in five years. Should I feel guilty, though, and retire so that young blood can trickle in?

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