Post Academic

Why You Should Treat “Flexibility” on the Job With Skepticism

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionDuring the third season of “Mad Men,” Don Draper takes repeated middle-of-the-night calls from Conrad Hilton, owner of the hotel chain and a VIP. Anyone tethered to a Crackberry should groan upon seeing it. Even the powerful Don Draper can be caught in the trap of “flex time.”

“Job flexibility” or “flex time” has grown increasingly popular as a benefit, and it’s one of the reasons people flock to academia. In many cases, flexibility is a good thing, especially if you have children or need to see a doctor regularly. That way, you can make up your work hours at night or on the weekend, and you and your boss will still be happy.

Lately, however, I’ve seen “flexibility” be abused or misinterpreted to mean “available at all hours of the day or night.” In academia, the overhyped flexibility will have you bending over backwards. Students e-mail at weird hours, you do your work at night because of marathon meetings during the day or coffee breaks that turn into grading sessions. But hey–it’s all worth it because you’re not doing the 9-to-5, right?

More after the jump! Image of contortionist from 1880, Wikimedia Commons, public domain. (more…)