Fatigue makes cowards of us all.
--we need to increase the number of students in our majors
--faculty should have more graduate students in their labs
Hmm...sounds similar. Insert 'faculty' for 'on-site workers' and 'university administration' for 'EU and NATO'.
So, there are two levels of this fatigue: first, people seem to be wildly busy--to the point where folks are not contributing to 'normal' activities (serving on committees, nominating people for awards, attending faculty meetings) at 'normal' levels. And, second, the fatigue is exacerbated by conflicting messages of what is important to the organization.
One big problem--some institutional structures have become obsolete. My prediction: at Universities, the 'department' will be replaced in 15-20 years with a different structure. Departments are obsolete as decisions are made at higher levels and more work is between-departments than within-departments; faculty perceive this and have stopped attending faculty meetings because nothing is accomplished of meaning. Professional societies may also re-structure in the coming years. The local-level structures (i.e., Nebraska chapter of The Wildlife Society) are already re-evaluating how important their existence is to their members.
Professionals of all types are working at a different level than our colleagues of 50 years ago did. We are called to be more efficient and produce more than our colleagues did in the past. The structures in which we work are still the same, however.
Something is going to have to change. My bet is that fatigue and its associated guilt are eventually going to cause some major changes in the way we work. And, that transition will be much better if we address it proactively, rather then reactively.