I’ve been at my new job for about two months, and some of the cracks in my new department are beginning to show.
Some faculty members, while cordial, seem to be kind of “checked out” - they’re never in the office, sometimes skip meetings, and seem to be immersed in their own work, at the expense of relationships with colleagues. The younger (i.e., more recently hired) folk still have the “grad school work ethic” - they’re cheerful, always present (in every sense of the word), and are trying to make the department a more collegial place. Part of the challenge is our physical space - our department occupies two floors of a building, with a peculiar layout that makes our offices rather spread out.
I’m not surprised, or disillusioned, to find that some people don’t get along so well, some don’t contribute their share, and some seem more focused on themselves than others. It’s the same in every workplace. I tell my students - what makes “The Office” so funny is that it’s so realistic; you’ll find that same cast of characters in just about any workplace. The question is - who are *you* going to be? How do you want to enter the world? You can make a conscious decision, or you can allow yourself to be knocked around by circumstances.
So you might say that the honeymoon period is over, in that I’m getting to know my new coworkers a bit more, to see the warts. And I’m sure they’re seeing mine, too. But I think it’s important to remind myself that this happens in any circumstance, any relationship, and it doesn’t mean that people are “bad” or the situation isn’t living up to what I expected. It’s just a fact of life.
I’ve known a lot of people who get really excited about getting accepted to grad school, and then experience a terrible letdown once the reality sets in - the workload can be crushing, people aren’t always helpful (sometimes they’re downright competitive), and the lifestyle can be lonely. We’re getting to the point in the fall semester when these feelings start to set in. But you weren’t wrong for wanting this, and the experience is still going to be mostly great - it’s just that some of the fairy dust has blown away.
When the honeymoon is over, the real work of the “marriage” begins.