Field of Science

How a university works - administrative leave

Let's save money by shutting down the university between Christmas and New Year's Day. Hard to argue with the basic concept, but then comes the practical side of things. None of our organisms got the memo! That's right, all of our culture chambers, incubators, animal rooms, and greenhouses must continue to function, daily; organisms can't just take the "time off". Of course, it's different for faculty. A security guard just popped into my office to ask who I was and what I was doing here (clearly the university is recycling big box store greeters to improve campus security).
This is the Phytophactor's office and the person you are interrupting at work is the Phytophactor.
There aren't any classes to teach and the university is shut down.
Ah, you are operating under the inaccurate presumption that we are just teachers, but we do so much more. These are manuscripts being written; science being communicated. Do you wish to assist me in moving this library, a 40 year accumulation, or the specimens to which reference is being made, to my home? No, of course not, so this is where my work gets done. Did I in fact notify anyone that I would be working over the shut down?
No. You must be new here. You see faculty do not need any one's permission to be in their office or laboratory. Did you notice that the university entrusts us with keys.
I'll just make note of your name and continue on my rounds.
Please do, and notify my department chair and dean. They're both new and need to know who's dedicated among their faculty.
The basic problem here is that by common standards no one in their right mind goes to work when they don't have to, and technically, the Phactor could be at home letting day-time TV dissolve his brain. Now if it were gardening season, well, then there might be some temptation to stay home and putter about the estate. But here's the thing, and this goes to the oft asked question "when are you going to retire?" as well, the Phactor really likes what he does. It's quite gratifying to see your name in print, to get scholarly recognition, and to have figured something out, something new, something unique, on your own. This is quite hard for other people to understand. It's easier to assume that we're up to no good scuttling around a nearly, eerily empty campus. And do understand that even blogging is but a brief respite from the tedium of working on a book's appendix, a vestigial organ, that should be able to be excised without any harm to the main body of work.

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