1. Stay narrowly focused for your whole career on the one specific area you researched in your PhD. As a tenured academic you have a license to research almost anything you like. Always have at least two or three entirely different strings to your research bow. Stick a poster on your office wall that simply says ‘Serendipity’! (But refer to point 10)
2. Tell publishers that you can’t write books because your HoD has told you to only engage in activities that are highly REF-able in research assessment exercises. What’s wrong with writing books? Writing books allows you that bit more freedom to express your ideas than a competitive, highly judgmental and often arbitrary journal publication process (and you get royalties for it!).
3. Complain that you haven’t been able to publish any research because your teaching load is too high. Is your teaching load the same as everyone else in your department? Be honest with yourself - are your time management skills good enough?
4. Fail to appreciate that everything you write needs to be engaging and accessible. So you’re happy to spend a lifetime churning out stodgy, turgid papers that don’t even raise a smile of appreciation in your most devoted research fans?
5. Fail to appreciate that there's a whole world of lay people out there who would love to appreciate your knowledge in terms that they can understand. Who’s going to take knowledge to the people if you don’t?
6. Treat dealing with final year dissertation students as a chore. So you give them all slightly different topics on your one main research project, even get them to work in pairs on the same data rather than spend time exploring new ideas with them each individually - new ideas that might expand and invigorate your own research horizons and introduce your students to the exciting contributions they can make personally to research and knowledge.
7. Consider yourself to be a struggling small cog in an impersonal monolithic research machine. If so, you’ll miss out on being someone who is creative, makes discoveries and furthers knowledge.
8. Be defensive about your research and teaching. This will allow everyone - faculty and students - to see that you’re neither passionate about nor excited by what you’re doing.
9. Avoid going to Departmental meetings and Boards of Study because you find them boring. If you want the working and research environment that suits you and your colleagues you need to contribute actively and vociferously to the organisational and management processes that create your working environment as an academic. You don’t necessarily have to shout and make a fuss - but you need to participate.
10. Spend your time solely chasing funding. Nowadays Universities are businesses chasing financially advantageous partnerships, income streams, and business deals - and you’re told without reservation that you personally need to throw yourself heart and soul into this desperate scramble for money. Tell your HoD and your university’s senior management team that as an academic you’re the ideas person, the knowledge generator, the creative hub, the teacher, the mentor, their reason d’être. Don’t be treated like an office worker who’s been asked to put their hand into their own pocket to pay for everything in their office they might need to do their job! Go to your HoD or your VC and ask the generous and increasingly wealthy organization that employs you to fund you properly to do the job your contract requires of you! .... and let me know how you get on!