Monday, June 09, 2008

Good Help is Hard to Find

At my regular job, technically I oversee the courses, not supervise the people who are teaching them. So while everyone teaching one of our low-level courses is supposed to turn in a copy of the syllabus, I have no tools except for a combination of personal charm and consistent nagging to get people to do things. If someone decides not to teach the departmentally-mandated list of topics for algebra or decides not to use the department-wide grading scale, there is nothing that I can do. Because of the budget cut, no one is getting a raise. Since we often struggle to fill teaching positions, no one ever gets fired. Sure, a GTA can lose an assistantship, but that process takes about four semesters.*

At my summer job, there are many, many, many important tasks that need to get done June 19-23. One of my staff members emailed me last night to say that he won't be arriving in Cambridge until the evening of the 22nd. Another won't be arriving in Cambridge until the evening of the 24th. As I have an unpaid staff, it's not like we can dock their pay.

*It has to do with the calendar of the budget process -- promises are made to TAs about assistantships far in advance, and once you've promised it, you have to deliver. If someone screws up in semester n, unless they've done something stupid enough to bring in HR and/or lawyers, you tell them that continued funding is contingent on improving in semester n+1. However, contractual commitments for semesters n+2 and n+3 are due in the middle of semester n+1.