delegation of duties October 27, 2017

How an Academic Leader Changes a Lightbulb

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The very first house I bought was a condominium, and the purchase price included 10 hours of service by an electrician. The idea was that each owner would want to customize the unit with special lighting fixtures and built-in appliances, and covering the cost of the electrician was intended to be a selling point. I was just starting out as a college professor and far too strapped for cash to afford luxuries like special fixtures and appliances, so my 10 hours of included service lasted me for several years. Each time one of my unit’s floodlights would burn out, rather than climbing up on a ladder myself, I’d call the manager’s office and have the electrician come do it for me. After having done so four or five times, I heard the manager sigh and say, “You know, an electrician is certainly capable of changing lightbulbs; it just seems to me that you’re wasting a perfectly fine electrician by having him do so.”