This post from Ann Althouse’s blog talks about a study that says that female academics spend more time on service than men do. Or as the study itself says, they “outperform” men. Althouse’s advice to these women is, “Stop ‘outperforming’ in doing internal administrative tasks and start outperforming in your scholarship. You can’t do both, and you’re competing with people who know that and are protecting their time.”
I know a woman like this. She spends sooo much time doing the most trivial of tasks, such as crafting each email carefully when in fact most people just skim them, instead of working on her research. When she was leading a study-abroad group of students in Europe, she actually used Skype so she could participate in department meetings back here in the States. She never really deserved to get tenure, much less a full-professorship, because her publications were so soft. Two were basically guaranteed by my wife without any other peer review, and a third was a book co-edited with a “big name,” so it was his reputation that got her the publication. She sent off an article once, but it got rejected, and she apparently has not wanted to repeat that experience.
The tragedy here is that so many other people would love to have her job so that they would be free to spend their time doing academic research on their favorite topic, but she gets to have this job instead, and she is wasting it on what is trivial.
On the other hand, as my wife and I have pointed out many times to her best friend, it was either choosing this deadbeat or getting an annoying theory-head who would chastise my wife for not being up on the latest nonsense about Derrida and Foucault.