Meeting Recap

The 6-hour Zoom meeting went well. I was one of the 3 people who attended through Zoom. Everybody else was in person.

The meeting went particularly well during the mental health workshop that I happily muted. That did wonders for my mental health.

Unfortunately, the really important part where the Dean was talking about the budget sucked bullets because the sound suddenly disappeared. I figured out that budget news were bad because a) I could see the reaction of the people in the audience and b) budget news are always bad. I think that the day a university administrator says, “we have good news regarding the budget,” we will realize that his mental health is beyond rescue.

By the way, I figured out why the university budget is always in such terrible shape. Imagine that you get your salary once a month, and whatever you don’t spend by the end of the month simply gets taken away. Every month it’s the same thing. A clean slate that wipes off the previous month. How would that impact your financial behavior? Would you make savings and try to be careful about your spending? Of course, not. It makes absolutely no sense to be careful and provident in this setup. You’ll buy a ton of little things you don’t need, would never have anything to cover unexpected emergencies, and wouldn’t be able to make a big purchase.

This is how our budget works. It gets wiped out on June 30 and starts with a clean slate on July 1. I have no reason to be careful and think long-term. Departments that are careful aren’t rewarded, and those that are profligate aren’t punished. It’s truly the dumbest system imaginable. It can only lead to unreasonable, stupid spending for the sake of spending.

5 thoughts on “Meeting Recap

  1. “It’s truly the dumbest system imaginable”

    Sounds very Soviet… since one of the big distortions of the economy in the USSR was that rewards and punishments were decoupled from job performance, doing a good job didn’t help, doing a bad job didn’t hurt since promotions were decided on other grounds.

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    1. Exactly. It bugs me immense because it’s so irrational. We keep talking about the corporatization of the university but what corporation works this way? It’s a reliable recipe for going bust.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s by fiscal year and no, that’s not why the university is broke (if it is). That’s not the university’s main money, it’s the department’s little allowance, and if it’s been more than you needed, or you underspent, it’s OK to spend at the end. We actually needed a new scanner, for instance, but hadn’t sprung for it yet, and turned out to have money at the end of the year, so got it. It’s not such a big deal. Being too stingy to spend it is, though–I had a chair once who thought he would get brownie points by not spending it, so he made us supply a lot of things ourselves, down to paper and postage. All that happened was that our budget was reduced the following year, including for travel.

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    1. But every part of the university works in the same way. The little, the large. It’s all wiped out and then starts all over. It’s all extremely inefficient and designed to create an environment of fake shortages and uncertainty. It’s a method of control.

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      1. Method of control, yes, and fake shortages/uncertainty, yes. But I think it started differently/for different reasons. I don’t seem to remember the crisis atmosphere back before the budgets were so tiny. It’s possible that that was when giving back what was left didn’t matter since there would be enough in the restart, I don’t know. Here, though, since 2008 or so, it’s only been a problem for us peons, from what I can tell. The real money is hidden off the official books somewhere, and they play with it as they will. (I’m not sure how it all works exactly, but I do find it fishy.)

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