This time of year means a new beginning for many students but also the start of a new job for a lot of lecturers too. So with a mixture of trepidation and excitement they head off to their new universities unsure how this post will benefit their careers or how it will affect their personal lives.
There is some controversial advice in a Chronicle article this week on how new lecturers can cope with starting a new job. You can read the whole article here. The author suggests these five tips:
- be humble
- be willing
- be organised
- be collegial
- be low-maintenance
Now, on the surface this sounds like great advice, a good way to quietly and studiously blend in to your new working environment and, especially importantly, avoiding getting up anyone’s nose. However, some of the comments on the discussion board attached to this article seem to be a little cynical about the approach.
They claim that these recommendations amount to nothing more than ‘toadying’, which, for those not familiar with the phrase, means flattering or deferring to your bosses in order to get on in your career. They claim that this means remaining neutral with no opinions of your own and suppressing your own individuality and work ethic.
I think this is a bit harsh. No one is suggesting that you have to behave this way throughout your career, and you probably wouldn’t get very far if you did. But in the first few weeks of a new job it’s important to allow yourself time to get used to a new way of working and to make an effort to befriend new colleagues and make a good impression. Once you have established yourself in a role then you can be more outspoken and opinionated if you wish, but starting out, that piece of advice to ‘be humble’ is probably a pretty good one!