I really miss collegiality. I have had an active social life all my life starting from high school. BS and MS were amazing experiences with my friends and then came PhD. That was possibly one of the best times I had of my life. There was so much learning and so much fun. It was incredible time of my life when I was 21 years old. My PhD friends are still my close friends.
The two postdocs were okay. I did not know what to expect, but in both cases I was able to have great friends with some semblance of a social life.
Then came my first job at Park University. That was my "growing up" time of my life. There was constant learning of new things and that included chemistry also. But what was really good was my colleagues. It was a small university and I had a group of faculty, all of us of the same age group, and we would hang out all the time. People came and people left, but I was able to maintain a good level of social life. In my 11 years I had done so much there and made so many friends in so many walks of life.
Most of my colleagues were quite supportive, except for one, because of whom I had to leave. Except for that one, I could walk into anyone of my colleague's office and they into mine and we could talk about anything. I did not need an appointment or worry they would be rushing anywhere. Our teaching load was 12 cr hours so most faculty were in their offices, working. I could go to anyone, talk to anyone for however long time and about anything. It was awesome. Our brown bag lunches, seminars, workshops, all helped us learn from each other, get to know each other - and the rest was up to us. There were many social events to get us together. It really was quite a family feeling.
I still had some really good friends at Park. I feel that I really enjoyed my time there and learned A LOT from my colleagues.
Then came Shenandoah University. I think I have some really bad luck with having at least one colleague who is my absolute nemesis, and not because I said anything, but because of their own insecurities. In my two years there I made some really good friends - they are almost all lost now because it was a very short friendship, but I am still in touch with a few.
My college PBSC has been the least collegiate of all the places I have ever been. Faculty and staff work here like a factory worker, they come in, do their work and go home to their families. If they hang out, they do it with their family. No friends allowed. I have been here 11 years and I still cannot say I have a good friend/colleague here that I can trust or hang out with. Whatever conversations I have had with my colleagues has been because I initiated them. No one is interested in me.
The administration has encouraged this kind of lack of social contact among faculty. So we all work in isolation, we cannot learn from each other (if I have, I have to make an effort - it is not natural conversation), and we definitely don't socialize. Everyone here is out for themselves. They don't think of the collective, they are vicious, competitive and will stab me in the back the first chance they have. It is a tough place to work.
I love living in Florida and I am also getting too old to move anywhere. So regardless of whether this place supports collegiality or not, I am stuck here. I just keep my head down and teach my classes and come home. I have made some friends outside of work but collegiality is something else for a career.
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