You Get What You Give - New Radicals (mp3)
You want new ideas? Be ready to create a new job title. You can’t make new things happen without new employees or big promotions. That’s my takeaway from this summer.
Our entire floor of administrators spent the summer visiting select schools to conversate and collect ways to build on and improve what we do. At the same time, committees of faculty and staff members met and set out action plans for the accreditation process our school must undergo this fall, a process that expects schools to evolve and adapt over time.
I’m a hopey changey kind of guy, and this kind of stuff excites the hell out of me.
All those trips, and all those committees, and all those fresh new ideas, and they all had one uniting common bond: A New Position. And I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout sex.
When someone has an idea, and that idea points to more responsibility on our plate, our instantaneous reaction is, “Sorry. I’m busy.” We can’t help it. Because we are. Busy. Or we believe we are. At least when it’s our idea, we can sometimes squeeze in time for it... but only when we own the idea. Otherwise, fuhgiddaboutit.
Ironically, as a faculty and staff, we can’t figure out why our salaries aren’t going up. And we can’t figure out how tuition can keep rising, and student numbers can hold steady, yet there’s no income around for us to make mo’ money. (HINT: Maybe it’s because we keep identifying all these things that need to be done and insisting that new people have to be hired to do them. Our raises are going to add people to our ranks!**)
There’s no magic solution here. Few folks want more responsibility without more money or more power. That’s the way we are.
However, for us to implement even half of the ideas we as a school generated this summer, we’d apparently need to hire three to five more full-time people, who would require a budgetary investment of... what, at least $150-200,000, right? After the cost of benefits and other perks, even if the average salary was technically only $35-40,000?
Was it always like this?
Did cavemen sit in cavemen conferences and decide someone needed to tackle the velociraptor problem, and the only way to do it was to create a “Velociraptor Czar” job position and post the job on Monster.com?
I don’t think so. I think they took a look at what they were all doing. And if velociraptors deserved more energy, they figured out what deserved less, and they took from that. Cavemen probably had to conclude that some of the jobs they were doing weren’t nearly as important as “Velociraptor Czar.”
We as a society have increasingly lost the ability to give things up.
We’re hoarders. We hold onto things far beyond the point where it’s worth doing or keeping. And this is true with jobs as much as anything. If we as a school were completely honest, there are several positions in our ranks that are outdated concepts from an earlier era. Or jobs that used to take someone 40 hours a week now shouldn’t take more than 20, but that dude or lady ain’t about to admit she’s doing half a job for full-time wage.
But we can’t have our cake and eat it too. We can’t demand more salary for ourselves, demand new people to fill new perceived needs, and also demand that the family all stay together and no one breaks up the band. But hell, even the Beatles eventually had to cut Stu Sutcliffe.
New positions. Raises. Keeping the family in tact. Tuition that has already out-priced the market. Not even in America can all of these things remain comfortably crammed in the clown car. Something's gotta give.
* -- Well, it’s also going to support pension plans for retirees who have vastly outlived their expected expiration date, to health care plans that shoot up faster than Courtney Love, and to the ever-increasing costs of campus and building maintenance. But those aren’t as central to my point.