Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Verbal Tip

In waitressing, we called it "the verbal tip." Here's the rule: when someone on their way out the restaurant door makes a point of catching you and telling you what a great job you've done, 9 out of 10 times they've left an awful tip, or none at all.

This morning, all faculty got a message from our chancellor, talking about the "many challenges" we face, the prospect of disappearing programs, larger class sizes, and delayed building repairs and equipment purchases (the staff and faculty cuts, and three-plus years of salary freezes, plus a year of furloughs, plus and the prospect of a big and permanent pay cut looming on the horizon are left unspoken).

The rest of the very long e-mail goes on about how we will remain committed to students, and how it's all down to our fantastic faculty and staff who helps students succeed, and how we are "mak[ing] high-quality, affordable education accessible to all citizens." The message seems to be that people who are really dedicated to students don't let something as petty as filthy lucre get to them.

So yay, us, for being awesome folks who provide excellence without money.

But on the whole, I would have preferred a tip.

8 comments:

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Definitely on the tip thing.

Off-topic: I'll be away at a conference this weekend and so might not be able to check in with ADNWG on time. I'll try. But please don't drop me if I can't manage it.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Thanks for the heads-up. We'd only drop you for two absences in a row anyway, but I've got this on my radar.

Cheradenine said...

That email's especially frustrating since, as I understand it, the challenges outlined and consequent increases in tuition are seriously eroding efforts to offer "affordable education to all citizens."

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Not that our fiscal constraints are anything like yours, but such as they are, at least our dean doesn't blow smoke up our asses like that. He explains the constraints as they are, explains why they must be, explains that he understands the bad effects that they will cause, and assures us that he will be fighting to reverse them at every opportunity.

That is a much more effective morale maintainer than pretending that everything is peachy.

auto ethnographer said...

Took the words right out of our household mouths. We would rather have our already out-dated contracts honored. He is a piece.of.work.

Dr. Crazy said...

My dean, the same dean who basically told me that "some people just share a heavier burden of the service than others" when I asked for support for work that has been thrust upon me, has the equivalent of an "employees of the month" thing that he sends out by email each month. Luckily, he changed the name of it from "Big Dogs on Campus" (which meant everybody jokingly called me a bitch when I got the "award" in the first year) to something or other about faculty who enrich hearts and minds, but the point is, he is the MASTER of the verbal tip. Which is bogus.

sophylou said...

Don't forget what I think of as the Tom Sawyer Corollary. As in, not only do you get told "You're AWESOME!" with no tip, but additionally, "You're so awesome that we're going to let you take on this AWESOME fence-painting job!!!" Extra points if they tack on "We aren't really sure how fence-painting actually works, but we know you will be able to figure it out because you are just that awesome!"

Vanessa said...

Not me - when I do that it means I'm also handing you a generous tip in person to make sure you get all of it, but then again I waitressed full time for a number of years.

But this post and Excellence without money sure nail it. Higher ed and especially adjuncting in a nutshell. Will the tee be ready for CEW?