Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
Whom are we willing to sacrifice?
In the past 6 years, I have worked at two academic institutions, both
of which have had four deans each during the same
period. Did we not choose well? Or did wise leaders opt out of undoable jobs?
I have known many chairs, chiefs, and deans. When I ask "How's the job?"
they invariably reply, "Impossible," or "Awful," or "I can't stand it anymore."
If I suggest that they take charge of their work and allow more time for family
and exercise, even relaxation and contemplation, they laugh as if I am living
in some other universe. They note that they often leave work feeling they
are failing—failing their staff, bosses, and families. Burnout, turnover,
and impairment—these are some of the outcomes we hold out to our most
Linzer M. Leaders or Lemmings?. JAMA. 1998;279(5):341. doi:10.1001/jama.279.5.341