Professors identify “coaching opportunities” for each other.
Newly appointed department chairs and administrators used to be chefs.
People you report to have degrees in nebulous things like, “academic leadership.”
Job applicants with degrees from unaccredited schools and online seminaries get interviews and are occasionally hired.
You attend mandatory training with content barely scratching the surface of a 100-level undergraduate course in your field.
Colleagues with post-doc work refer to mandatory training sessions as “professional development” and endure them with the damaging enthusiasm of a traveling new-thought sideshow.
Co-workers casually quote Dale Carnegie in meetings like it’s no big deal.
You regularly attend meetings with people you do not know.
Co-workers cover the cameras on their laptops.
People search for things like, “can audio recordings be used as evidence in a deposition?”
Events held on campus are hyperbolically praised and celebrated. As such, you receive bi-weekly T-shirts for functions you did not attend.
You find remnants of a union that was busted years ago.
The person responsible for busting that union sits on committees with you.
They might wear an eye-patch and occasionally a surgical mask.
Students are referred to as “customers” and “revenue streams.”
Administrators say things like, “All we can do is hope for another recession.”
The library gets rid of all books because digital content is the future.
People responsible for things like the Flint water crisis sit on the board of trustees and have vested financial interests in your institution.
An increasing number of co-workers mispronounce “pedagogy” and then double down by using the word to describe non-pedagogical things.
You no longer receive a stipend to attend conferences.
An increasing number of faculty hold advanced degrees from the institution you work for.
You find yourself questioning your level of responsibility.
The pattern recognition part of your brain goes haywire as basic information is leveraged as a weapon.
You write things like, "For all I know this is a well-designed plan executed perfectly” and “Everyone is unknowingly chasing the wrong thing” and mean them.
One of your bosses previously taught kindergarten and currently makes jokes about Title IX violations.
You find yourself interviewing for a job you already have and it’s exactly like Office Space.
People interviewing you for the job you already have are not in your field, nor are they academic peers, and they will commend themselves for getting through certain questions they do not understand.
Campus cafeterias and coffee corners close with no explanation until one day they are replaced by vending machines that do not work. Students and faculty unite in shared confusion.
You join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee with hopes of transforming it into a fully functioning department.
Diversity and inclusion work includes hanging American Flags in all classrooms, pushing play on a documentary film about Gandhi, and hosting Taco Tuesday in the faculty lounge.
Colleagues make jokes about all the rooms on campus being bugged.
Your institution hosts Lynchian online-only conferences where people play games in exchange for CV lines.
People that were fired are rehired because the person responsible for posting the job didn’t know how/forgot.
Married couples oversee departments together.
You are told to stop working so hard because “At the moment ‘we’ need to fix the reportables [sic] for our accrediting bodies.”
Colleagues talk increasingly of conflicts they are having with each other. Entire mornings are lost.
You attend mandatory, catered 8-hour meetings.
Catered 8-hour meetings intermittently allow 2-to-4 but never 5-minute breaks. It is not enough time for a cigarette, which you can only smoke in your car.
Colleagues ask you what “HBCU” stands for.
Colleagues try to fire each other for some reason.
Student retention is an issue of concern AND you are frequently asked the difference between quantitative and qualitative forms of analysis.
Buildings around campus slowly start closing off wings and no one says anything. Eventually, some buildings are not used at all.
Classes are offered that do not exist and students sign up for them.
Administrators say things like, “That’s the thing with data; we can make it say anything.”
When you attempt to file a complaint you learn the department dealing with complaints no longer exists.