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WOHM: WTF re place of work?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm a research professor with a J.D. and an L.L.M. I'm a responsible individual with numerous publications, awards, etc., both recent and previous, under her belt. Funding for my position is half through one department and half through the other. I do work for both departments at the university. Virtually none of the work I do requires being done from any given site or another; for the most part, if I were anywhere in North America, I could get the work done with the proper computer system, software and cable modem. So why is it that each dep't is insisting that I work at their respective locations during the time I'm supposed to be working at each? For chrissakes, one department has me in a CUBICLE. I'm supposed to be working on scholarly publications, and the person next to me has some music playing, and chitchats with passersby. PLEASE.

I know Jane's had similar issues re inflexible bosses insisting on performing work at x or y location. How many others are in a similar situation? I am so frustrated I could scream.
post #2 of 12

Are you supposed to have access to students? Or a set number of office hours each week? Or are these departments insisting you be there during an unreasonable period of time? I worked as a faculty assistant at Harvard Law (so I know what an L.L.M. is!) and I was a PhD student at one point, and in my experience a professor is given wide lattitude about where he/she performs work, with the exception of being in the office for set office hours (normally a few hours a week). My academic advisor in my PhD program did most of his work at home or wherever he was travelling in South America, and at Harvard most of the three profs I worked for did maybe 10 hours a week in their offices, did teaching time, and spent the rest of the time at home, on the road, or in conferences.

If you have an administrative position it's a little different, but you should still be granted the flexibility an independent researcher/professor deserves.

Is this some turf/funding issue? Are the departments afraid that if you're not there they won't get their share of the budget/space allocations next year? Sometimes that can be an issue. See if you can find out WHY they want you physically there. Heck, even as a lowly faculty assistant I was given a good deal of flexibility about where I could do many parts of my job!

Good luck,

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I believe it's largely a turf issue. Both departments are concerned about getting more physical space, and want to demonstrate that they need it. However, it ought not to interfere with the performance of my work. And it does. I'm faculty, not staff, by the way. I anticipate a number of discussions about this issue in the next week or so.
post #4 of 12
As you probably guessed, I totally empathize! I just hate being treated like a child - go here, sit here, be here at this time, blah blah blah.

I hope your discussions with the powers that be go well. I still haven't had the courage to talk to my boss (again) about the flexibility I'd like to have to get my job done and fulfill my mothering obligations (and needs) at the same time.

And I would *really* protest the cubicle.
post #5 of 12
Marlena, I'm sorry to hear you're having troubles with the flexibility that's normally given to faculty without question. One of the reasons I accepted this job is that they said they were willing to be flexible and that I could do some work from home. I decided to finally take them up on that promise by working from home on Friday. I didn't ask permission -- I just told my secretary and the receptionist that I would be working from home that day and they could call me at home if they needed me. So now I'm waiting to see if it created a problem or not. I think that when your requests are reasonable, as yours are, sometimes telling people you're going to do something is more effective than asking if you can do something. I did have a problem earlier when I had mastistis and a cold and I took two sick days off, and it turned out to be quite an ordeal even though I was told beforehand that taking sick days when needed wouldn't be a problem, so I'm somewhat expecting one of the partners in my firm to ask me where I was and why I wasn't in the office. What a family un-friendly profession!
post #6 of 12
I'm AMAZED that they're telling you, a faculty member, where and when to do your work! I wasn't treated that way as a GRAD ASSISTANT. What if you're working on an article and need to be in the library archives much of the time? Or need to travel for four days to do some research in D.C., or NY, or wherever? Do they tell you which conferences to attend, which papers to write? Man, I'm outraged for you!

Do they do this to MALE faculty members? To other faculty members period?

If your ability to produce scholarly research and to teach effectively is being compromised, make a stink. I know tenure-track jobs are hard to come by these days, but I think you need to stand your ground. If this is a fairly new job, the way this resolves may set the tone for how you're treated long-term.

Maybe one way around it would be to emphasize some particular piece of research you're doing that REQUIRES a lot of out of the office time (library, off-site research, etc.) and that when you ARE in the office, you need more privacy than a cubicle affords.

Good luck,

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Yes, I will be resolving these issues this week in the respective departments. It is, indeed, an outrage. I am not a pawn to be used in a turf battle. While I anticipate the issues will be resolved without incident, I am also prepared to go all the way with this matter if necessary (ie, they can keep their position if they intend to manage me in this fashion).
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Half the problem is now resolved. Half to go.
post #9 of 12
I'm a tenure track faculty member at a university, too. I'm a librarian. We are in the same situation in many ways, although as far as I can tell, our teaching faculty are not. There are many times when it makes sense that we must be in the building (reference desk, meetings, etc.) but much of the time it wouldn't matter where we do our work. We also are expected to do research and publish. It frosts me that there is no flexibility at all as to where we do our work, when much of it could be done from home. I'm lucky to have a decent office, but many do not.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
My sympathies, EFmom!! There is truly no excuse for micromanaging one's place of work when one has a position such as that.

My situation is solved - I put my foot down, and that was that. Thanks, everyone!
post #11 of 12
Way to go!

Wish I could just put my foot down with my boss - who would just very calmly pull out the personnel manual and explain 16 ways from Sunday how it just can't be that way. Nothing like working for a lawyer who believes in the letter of the law....:
post #12 of 12
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