Thursday, September 20, 2012

Do you really want to get promoted so soon?

This might seem like a strange idea. Surely everyone wants to get promoted as quickly as possible and to get the associated pay rises?

This post occurs in the context that in some Australian universities it is possible to get promoted through the academic ranks without having tenure. But, even if you have tenure there are reasons why you might not want to get promoted so quickly.

Your primary goal should be to be have a permanent job in a good institution in a place where you and your family want to live. Promotion may make this primary goal harder.

If you don't have tenure and get promoted you may price yourself out of the market of possible permanent jobs or fellowship awards.
In a similar vein, even if you have tenure and hope to make a move to another institution (or country) either for personal or professional reasons, you need to be careful that you also don't price yourself out of the desired market.
For example, suppose you are an Australian living in the UK and you desparately want to return home (understandable!). If you become a Professor in the UK this will significantly limit the routes whereby you can return.

Finally, remember that the more senior you are the more you may be expected to take on more administrative and "leadership" roles. On the flip side, a common "carrot" for people aiming for promotion is to get them to thank on thankless and time-consuming admin tasks that count as "service" in their promotion case. Ask yourself, "Is it worth it?"

In most institutions the best way to get tenure and to get promoted is to get a nice offer from another institution.

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