Primo: I found all these old emails, which I have put in the recycling. My dad was angry that he had not advanced in his career. And he was angry that the union promoted people based on seniority and not competence.
Me: And how does one measure competence in academia? You have to define an objective measure. Look how much of a battle tenure is!
Primo: He thought it was unfair.
Me: You don't get to pick and choose when you are in a union.
Primo: He said academia was different from a factory floor and that incompetence should not be protected.
Me: Incompetence should not be protected anywhere, especially on a factory floor! And unions have no place in academia - it is not production work that can be easily measured.
Primo: My dad spent a lot of time on faculty development. He was really interested in the theory and the practice. They got this new department chair who assigned my dad to teach two sections of Shakespeare. My dad was upset about it.
Primo: I guess he wanted to teach something else. So he wrote to the chair. The chair said he had looked at all the recent peer-reviewed journals and had not found anything my dad had written. And then he said maybe if my dad weren't so busy being Faculty Czar, he would have time for research.
Me: Ouch! Straight for the jugular!
Primo: But my dad was doing research!
Me: Yes, but he was doing organizational behavior research, not English literature research. You advance in academia by contributing to the field of knowledge in your field. Your dad's field was not org behavior.