On one of my previous posts about whether junior faculty should be seen and not heard- commenter Bahrad left the following comment:
The absolute worst advice is the absolute “seen and not heard” one… If you *never* voice an opinion, then that will definitely be damaging when it comes to tenure. The key is to find a battle & make sure that your comments are as well-considered and informed as possible.
Also, and this is a particular challenge for female junior faculty – you have to formulate your comments in such a way that your ideas are clearly acknowledged as being from you, so that goodwill is reflected on you and not transferred to some other faculty member who jumps on your background. (Without seeming like an egomaniac, obviously, but the balance between arrogance and confidence is tougher for women in the still male-dominated social norms of faculty meetings.)
I agree with that first paragraph, and that pretty much sums up my approach in real life, for better or worse. BUT, I’m paying special attention to the bold text, and I know oh so well how that feels. Mention an idea in public or mention an idea in private, usually one which I’ve thought quite a bit about… have the operative listeners nod their heads all in agreement. Then, the next day or shortly thereafter- the listener(s) in question comes back to me and says… that THEY were thinking… what a great idea it would be if XYZ were implemented- like using my exact words.
Sometimes I’m not sure if this is a problem in translation. When they mention this to me is it some kind of compliment, without the usual language of a compliment, and without saying the actual words to acknowledge my contribution to the matter at hand? Because it sure doesn’t feel like that- it feels like a co-opted idea…and it is hard for me to stomach.
My tactic for the moment has been to let these things go- because really, in the end the idea gets implemented and that’s what I REALLY wanted anyway. But it would be nice to be acknowledged from time to time… so how to encourage this by formulating comments in a particular way..?