Samma Says: Some thoughts about academic service

Higher Vibrations in Higher Education

Nov 27 2023 • 9 mins

We are not doing this academic work for anything except to be of service. Of service to the greater good, to our communities that we hope to empower, to provide answers to really tough questions. We are doing this to be vessels of service. We need to remember why we are doing what we’re doing. It’s hard to do that when something is absconded with or taken out of context, like service.

On this episode, I talk a little bit of trash about service within academia.

We’re expected to be of service to keep the system running and rolling.

Asked to serve dept, college, university, our topic-area societies/organizations and greater scientific community with the gift of our time.

Time is our most precious commodity.  But then we’re asked to review peer review journal articles, conference abstracts, presentations, webinars, guest lectures, ccommittee service...To do this and to do that—all for free. And at the end of the week, we sit back and think, "I didn’t actually even move the needle on the things that I’m paid to do.”

Why do we continue to agree to this and work 60, 80 hour weeks because we’re spending so much time serving the greater good that we’re not serving our labs, students, selves, and families, because we’re doing all this service to be an "internationally recognized whatever."

It’s because I was tricked by the word “service.” I want to be of service.I believe in putting in my time, energy and efforts—and it’s not altruistically necessary: It’s all to feed and fuel that we matter, that our opinion mattered along the way

I used to get a little excited when people would invite me because it meant that my opinion matters. We have to know that our opinion and our work matters and how to appropriately compensate.

Need to make this idea make it to the ears and hearts of administrators, of people who can rethink the infrastructure and think hey, maybe we should be compensated and level of peer review can be graded or valued, instead of getting shitty feedback that took 20 min or less and doesn’t advance the science

Money is energy. Money is an energetic exchange of your efforts.

Yoga principles for flourishing in academia and beyond, I’m recognizing that part of my lethargy, overwhelm, burn out is root chakra imbalance is based on how much time I spend in service to the “suits”—the people making money off of the business of education.

I invite us to advocate for any opportunities to be compensated for your previous time. Your time, efforts, expertise are so appreciated, thank you for being part of this system and cycle of positivity and overwork or overwhelm.