This is a vent. IMHO, there are four pieces of advice senior faculty too often give to their juniors here and in real life.
1. STFU - Sure, tenure-track faculty have to watch what they say, but no professor of any rank can survive by taping their mouth closed. STFU too much and you inhibit the chance of gaining allies and friends. It also appears evasive. Tenure-track faculty need good mentorship on when to speak, how to contribute, and how to engage productively with committees, colleagues, and administrators. New faculty should listen much, make friends easily, and speak carefully. What they shouldn't do is censor themselves entirely. It's just not practical.
2. Go on the market / quit - It's easy from the comfort of our chairs to suggest leaving a school for parts unknown, but how often is that really practical? There's an enormous time, financial, familial, and mental health cost associated with shifting employers. Too many faculty are stuck in bad situations, and telling them to just leave is easy but too often impractical. It's lazy mentoring that does not address the underlying issue.
3. File a lawsuit / get a lawyer - Nine times in ten this is a recipe for disaster. Faculty challenging university decisions in court almost always lose. Litigation costs massive time and money, and there's no certainty you'll get what you want. Furthermore, word of this spreads like wildfire. You'll be known as the professor who sued his/her college, and it risks being a black mark on future job applications. There is no 'general fairness' law that protects employees, and most of the time a legal remedy won't help.
4. Just say 'no' - This happened to me when I was a junior professor. Attending a public session on junior faculty, I asked for advice on how to keep my service obligations in check. A senior professor piped up immediately and proclaimed with no little fanfare, "Untenured, you just say NOOOOoooo!" A round of applause followed. Then I was caught off guard, but now I realize that it was just lazy advice. Just saying 'no' is rarely the complete response to most academic problems. How to say no (or yes) , when to say no (or yes), and why you should say no (or yes) are far more valuable lessons then simply going negative.
Sure, any of these can be the right answer for some people, but too often they are not helpful. We can do better.
Perhaps all this sounds cranky. Perhaps I'm totally off base. If either is true, I apologize.
I agree with these. I don't know how often I've been told to just get another job. Yeah, the return calls have dried up. My wife can't move because of her job. There are a lot of restrictions. I'll keep the crappy job and the paycheck.
I spent so much time saying "yes" to everything that I got stuck doing all of the things that the people getting tenure didn't want to do. None of it helped my quest and ruined a perfectly good weekend or night. It's hard to stay focused on what you need to be doing if you have to take care of all of the extra stuff.