It’s mid-August, and professors around the country are contemplating the beginning of another academic year. As they gaze at stacks of syllabi in desperate need of revision, some are asking themselves, “Can I really survive another year of doing this?”
If that question strikes uncomfortably close to the place you call home, it may be time to consider retirement, regardless of your age. To assist you in making this decision, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has recently issued its latest edition of The Seven Warning Signs That It’s Time to Retire. Here it is:
1. Even though you aren’t due for your next colonoscopy until 2030, you schedule one for early September in order to avoid attending the first General Faculty Meeting of the Fall semester.
2. Instead of using the Blue-Sticker Faculty Parking Lot to which you’ve been assigned — a location two blocks away from your office — you’ve started parking your car on the lawn right in front of your building. You’ve accumulated over 50 tickets in the past few months that you have no intention of paying.
3. This year, in the section of your course syllabus reserved for communicating the school’s official policy on the use of gender pronouns in the classroom, you announce that you will be referring to everyone as “Sal.”
4. At your department’s annual Welcome Back Potluck Party hosted by the chairperson at her beach house last week, your sole contribution was a box of Dunkin’ Donut holes. You scattered them around the patio to attract seagulls while you got roaring drunk on Mike’s Hard Lemonade. At the end of the party you tossed your flip-flops into the koi pond and ordered a newly hired faculty member to fetch them, citing your status as a tenured professor.
5. You plan to screen “Pretty Woman” in IMAX format at the first meeting of your Intro to Western Civilization course in the fall; students should know how great it was to be a sex worker in the 1990s.
6. When the weather is nice, you often skip class to go sit on your favorite bench in the campus quadrangle and engage in staring contests with pigeons. You challenge them not to blink first, and you never lose. If passersby interrupt the competition, you fling a donut hole at them and say “Shoo!”
7. When colleagues invite you to lunch, you hand them a $25 gift card to Olive Garden and tell them to have a good life.
If you said, “Yep, that’s me” in response to 4 or more of these scenarios, a visit to your school’s HR department is probably in order. It’s time to file the appropriate paperwork to jump-start the disengagement process. Good luck.