Work pressure again

Work pressure in academia is extremely high.

Text: Guido Camps

In 2019, the Universities Association the VSNU presented the state of play regarding the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO), and yet again drew attention to work pressure. After an exploratory report in 2016, a study in 2017 and an interim report on 2018, we’ve now finally reached a conclusion: work pressure in academia is extremely high!

I foresee new reports in 2020, 2021 and 2022, all of which will once again point out that work pressure is extremely high and we really should do something about it within the universities. I’m sorry to disappoint you, dear member of the university staff, but the university is not going to be able to close the work pressure dossier.

In the corridors you and your peers can be heard saying, ‘I’m glad the weekend’s come, now I can get round to writing’. Or, my personal favourite, ‘Luckily the deadline is at the beginning of January, so I can get down to it properly in the Christmas holiday.’

The present systems goes on functioning thanks to academics who are always prepared to get the job done 

The present system goes on functioning thanks to academics who are always prepared to get the job done, even if their working day or week is over. As an employer, the university would be crazy to change that system. If an employee can’t keep it up, of course they are free to look for another job, but most of them don’t do that because secretly they like their jobs at the university too much to do so. And in the discussion about work pressure, that piece of the puzzle gets pushed under the carpet: we love working here.

So I’m already looking forward to the end of 2020, when the university will present research results on the extent of the work pressure, when employees will complain about the massive work pressure but will just keep going, and when we will make plans for another study on work pressure in 2021.

Guido Camps (34) is a vet and a postdoc at the Human Nutrition department. He enjoys baking, beekeeping and unusual animals.


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