In Part I, I explored Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter’s six major organizational antecedents to burnout within the context of housing and residence life professionals, most notably live-on/live-in professionals. Part II will explore the remaining dimensions with commentary in the conclusion for recommendations going forward.
– The fourth mismatch occurs when people lose a sense of positive connection with others in the workplace.
While undergraduate staff development largely falls on a residence hall director, the task of professional staff team development goes largely unassigned, left to the devices of the professionals themselves to take initiative in fostering it. To assume such a thing will happen on its own, or to avoid actively engaging in the process, director level professionals run a risk of dissension and depersonalization within their team.
– Unfairness can occur when there is inequity of workload or pay, when there is cheating, or when evaluations and promotions are handled inappropriately. If procedures for grievance or dispute resolution do not allow for both parties to have a voice, then those will be judged as unfair.
Fairness is perhaps the most difficult dimension to deconstruct within the context of student affairs. One aspect that this article will address is the idea of fair compensation. This argument has been extended to traditional teaching, as teachers are widely acknowledged to be underpaid for the work they do. It is difficult to negotiate larger contracts within the field unless there is a change in title. Fair pay is largely determined by job responsibilities and specific organizations who may or may not have the resources to offer a competitive salary. This seems to largely result from the perception of costs of the jobs over time outweighing income, or outplaying one’s contract due to the accumulated service over time.
– People can also be caught between conflicting values of the organization, as when there is a discrepancy between the lofty mission statement and actual practice, or when the values are in conflict (e.g. high quality service and cost containment do not always co-exist).
This mismatch of values can place an undue amount of pressure on a professional to accomplish the goals of a department or division with inadequate resources. This has more to do with poor planning or execution of organizational change, a topic with a library of research that is worth exploring.
Emerging trends in student affairs are frequently discussed, researched, and presented on for the betterment of students on college campuses around the country; however, this article suggests that greater attention needs to be paid to those who are charged with taking care of these students.
“Here we are in a field of residence hall managers, student activities coordinators, Greek life directors and other assorted student affairs specialists, all trained extensively on exactly what to do should a student display suicidal ideations, and yet we are ill-equipped to talk about our own fragile place in this college landscape.”
This is not to say that suicidal ideations are rampant in this field, but associative disorders – depression, compassion fatigue, and, as this article points to, burnout, are very real and worth the attention of everyone in the field.