I understand that Dr. Bigwig in a field related to -ology is coming to campus this week and that we’re all very excited to have him here. I’m glad that we are throwing a reception before his lecture. Free food is good. I even support the decision to move Dr. Bigwig’s provcatively titled lecture to the evening, in the hope that the general public will be lured onto campus to hear him speak.
But please lay off the pressure on the faculty to attend the event. We’d like to come. We’re interested in the topic. (We like free fancy food.) We even like to occasionally mingle with our colleagues after hours. But some of us have families. And some of us teach our first class at 9 am and end our last class at 5 pm. And that means that if we rush to daycare and rush our children home, we can get there just in time to turn around and head back to campus for that (not child-friendly) reception and lecture. Some of our children go to be at 8 pm. So even if we come home immediately after the lecture, we’ll still miss out on a whole day with our children. And for a few of us (or maybe just me), the chance to hear about our children’s days, give them a bath, and put them to bed is the highlight of our day.
So when you send out the invitation a few weeks ahead of time, that’s great. It lets us plan and decide how to balance our priorities. A reminder email a week ahead of time is a good idea, too. But 5-10 more emails in the days leading up to the event…rather frustrating. I already give up 10-12 hours of my day for my job. Please don’t pressure me to give up those last few hours with my child.