I want you back…

Recently, I read an article on 90s nostalgia, and apparently, a Gen-Z TikToker pronounced N’SYNC by articulating every letter in the band’s name. While other millennials were outraged by the blasphemy that could befall such a revered band of their youth, I thought…eh. Each generation has its own pop stars and I have never shared the fondness of my predecessors for the New Kids or for Jack Harlow or BTS of today’s youth. In any instance, “I want you back,” has always been a bop and that doesn’t seem to be up for inter-generational debate. It is also the essence of a recent meeting I had with a dean at University B…

As you will remember, I left University B in December of last year not because I didn’t like my job (sure, there were aspects of the role that were less than desirable, but that is true of all jobs). I left because, despite service to the department, division, and university beyond what was expected, I was offered a “promotion” without an accompanying raise. While I didn’t share it here, I was infuriated by this because 1) my requested raise to accompany the promotion was very modest; I asked for $5,000.00, 2) there was no counter offer; I wasn’t offered any additional money at all, and 3) I knew of a friend in another department within the same division that did get a $5,000.00 raise after her promotion to the same title; she also worked for the university for a shorter period of time and had fewer years of experience. For me, it felt like either the university didn’t materially value my contributions, despite their continuous verbal lauding of my work, or my boss didn’t have the desire to push for my increase. It was only later that I found out how truly correct I was…

In the time since I had made the transition from full-time employee to part-time temporary employee, there had been significant shifts in my division. The new Dean, who started around the same time I did, not long before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, finally began to unveil her new plan for the division. It included the removal of several people from leadership positions for which they were under-qualified or ineffective; including my former bosses’ boss. I was impressed. While there is much, much, much more to the story than would make sense to share here, the Dean and I were known to each other and she was unaware as to why I had decided to leave. So I sent her an email.

I sent this email with less than two weeks left on my temporary contract, the point of which was to let her know that I had genuinely loved working with students and was hopeful about the future of the division under her leadership; and, that discussions about compensation, which she seemed to have demurred from at past division-wide meetings, had to be taken more seriously. While I expected some form of a response, at minimum, a fare-thee-well, what I received was a dinner invitation…

Dinner with the Dean was relaxed and we spent most of the time talking about shared experiences in higher education. After about an hour and a half passed, just as I had to put up some pretense about splitting the bill, she scooped up the billfold from the table and looked me directly in the eyes, and said, “So, what would it take to get you to come back?”

8 thoughts on “I want you back…

    • When I began writing, I did not intend for the post to have a “cliffhanger,” however, that is honestly how the conversation ended before we got up and left the restaurant. With her asking me that question and to think about it. Perhaps I could have included that bit of information but eh…I enjoy writing and the way I wrote it seemed like a better ending. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Hehe, you watch too much TV shows ending with a cliffhanger.
    Come back and finish your story! This is a direct order of an Internet stranger, so, you know you must comply, right? ๐Ÿ˜‚


    • Ha! There really isn’t more to write for now. That really is how the conversation ended. However, as soon as there is more to tell, I promise you that I will come back and heed the demands of internet strangers ๐Ÿ™‚


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