Ad-meh-nistrators

What I was (less of) a corporate stooge I ran the lab.  I was in a leadership position, and damn good at getting things done.  I was rarely the bottleneck.  Now, I’m sure there are plenty of things for administrators to do, but signing anything I need signed from them is not one of those things apparently.  Now, I’m sure there’s plenty going on in the background, but what the fuck do they actually do?  I need to know, because I’ve been waiting for this form to get signed for two weeks.

This got me thinking about administrators: when I was interviewing at schools, my current one is the only head that I didn’t really like.  But the university itself, the collaborators, and the city made it easy to not think about the admins.  Especially since they don’t stick around forever.  The other ones served as kind-of mentors, willing collaborators, and generally nice people that want you to succeed.  My current one just tries to give me tons of tasks (which he knows I can’t as easily turn down, given my lack of tenure), without doing anything easy for me in return.  Is his job just to give people busy-work and hope the department gets good enough so he can move up the academic chain?  I know he’s not really doing research anymore, which should mean that his admin duties are so involved he can’t dedicate himself to his research?  But I really don’t know.

Talking to other profs here they all seem to think similarly, and that we only need him for his signatures, but I like to think that he does more.  That being said, maybe he could be replaced by one of those signing robots…

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