In the comments to my completely self-serving post below, ewjn06 raises the question of junior faculty workloads. Ever your humble servant, I'll post a few thoughts (though I have to say that I feel like I'm trying to be Dean Dad, and I won't do as good a job as he does!).
First of all, I will say that faculty workloads in general are, generally, heavy, and invisible. Heavy, because there is no clear dividing line between "work time" and "off time;" every faculty member I know spends much of their leisure time conscious of the work that they could perhaps be doing instead (those of you who don't, I salute you). As a medievalist, I always feel like that even if I were completely up to speed on my grading and class prep (which never happens), or had completely finished a research project without anything waiting in the wings (which also never happens), if I were truly dedicated, I could always start learning another language. I also think that the academic calendar tends to fit 12 months worth of work into 9 months of faculty contract, so that instead of having a balanced workload year-round, it's feast (during the school year) and famine (during the summer. When one definitely works, but in a different way).
And invisible, because the majority of non-academics have no idea what our job entails. (Remember, we all work 6 hours a week and make $150K, right?) True, I consider it a great luxury to have the kind of autonomy and flexibility that academia provides, but it certainly doesn't mean I'm not working - instead, it means I'm working all the time (see previous point).
Junior faculty, of course, face particular burdens due to their place in the food chain. Junior faculty often feel unable to say no to requests for their time/presence, for instance, because of the need to appear agreeable and collegial in tenure reviews. At the same time, junior faculty are also generally working on building up a stable of courses, which is incredibly time-consuming and sleep-eradicating.
I would submit, however, that the junior faculty workload has only got worse in the last 10 years or so, due (like almost everything else, it seems) to the conditions of the market. In the same way that junior faculty are often being hired with better vitae than many of the people hiring them had when they earned tenure, schools can demand more of the junior faculty that they do hire. After all, given the glut in the job market, schools that formerly had little to no research expectation for tenure are now hiring people out of major research programs who have strong research agendas. It's not hard to raise the research expectations for tenure in such a situation. But such schools don't reduce the other expectations correspondingly - teaching is still expected to be stellar, service is still a relatively heavy burden.
Another wrinkle that comes out of all this seems to be in play in ewjn06's case, too. The changing demographics of the junior professoriate often create a huge cultural barrier between the junior faculty and the senior faculty who hire them. I should point out that this is certainly not always the case, and I do NOT mean to paint senior faculty all with the same evil brush. Let me say, for instance, that I love the senior faculty in my department, who are all incredibly supportive and helpful (but I think there are some structural things that encourage that, which I'll get to in a moment). What I do know, however, is that ejnw06's experience with her senior faculty reminds me of some of my own past experiences.
There are a LOT of department out there that are incredibly split, demographically. At Rural Utopia, for a time I was the only tenure-track junior faculty member among a group of senior faculty who'd all been at the school since the mid-70s. In RU's case, some of this was a result of weird circumstances out of anyone's control. But in my many years on the job market (4, if you want to know), I came across many, many, many departments - generally at smaller schools that, in the past, would have had minimal research requirements for tenure - populated by 5-7 faculty who'd earned their Ph.D.s in the early-mid-70s, and then maybe one person with a doctorate from the 90s. (This is starting to turn into departments where everyone earned their degree in the 90s, as the senior generation retires, but it hasn't happened everywhere yet.) What this means is that you have a department that 1) has done very little hiring recently, and 2) is composed primarily of people who've been in place for nearly 30 years.
This is a very, very, very hard situation for the junior faculty member (and probably for the senior members, too, but I can't comment on that).
The problem, as I've experienced it, is simply that the junior and senior faculty members inhabit two entirely different academias. The administrative assistant at RU once said to me, "You treat this like a job - you know, as a career. They [meaning senior faculty] treat it like their life." Now, while one of the distinguishing features of academia among all academics (as far as I can tell) is an inability to separate life and work, what she meant was that I (and my jr. faculty cohort) were professional and approached this as a job, whereas the senior faculty treated it as a calling. Or at the least, something unlike a modern career.
What this can result in, then, is a junior faculty member to whom many look for more "professional" approaches to the job (need catalog copy? ask jr. faculty, who won't resent just on principle the "registrar-speak" of catalog copy. Need someone to work on student retention? ask the jr. faculty), yet who also needs to spend lots of time getting their teaching up to snuff, fulfill the expectations of teaching and service that were developed probably twenty-five years before, AND get out that research that makes every place look so good these days. At the same time that they deal with senior faculty who feel invested in the way that the department/institution has developed and may want to keep it that way; who are invested in research identities of their own, and may feel humbled or threatened by the activity of their junior colleagues; and who may be suspicious of what looks like change for change's sake.
I should emphasize that I don't really know how generally accurate this picture is. My sense, however, anecdotally from other junior faculty, is that it is, at the least, not uncommon.
How to cope with it? I don't have any great solutions to that. Personally, I changed jobs. My current institution has managed to avoid that senior faculty glut, and has hired pretty regularly since the early 80s or so. Therefore, they don't currently face the problem of how to negotiate that demographic transition. (So, note for the future: try to avoid loading the deck with all one generation! My fear is that many of these top-heavy departments are merely setting themselves up for the same problem 30 years down the road, when they're full of people from the late 9os who all have to be replaced at once. Of course, who knows what academia will look like then?)
But these are the suggestions I have: make alliances outside your department. Find other junior faculty who can provide emotional and institutional support. Find supportive associate professors who may be able to bridge the gulf between junior and fully senior. Administrators can also be useful allies, if they are more likely to be sympathetic than your senior colleagues. (This often depends on whether the administrators identify with the senior colleagues or not - but many of them come from outside an institution, so they're as likely to be frustrated as you are).
As for reducing the workload (what I think ewjn06 was really asking about, and which I've sort of wandered away from), learn to say no. This is where administrative allies can be important, because it's great if you can say, "I'd love to, but [Administrator X] really feels I need to spend more time on my research/teaching/anything that's not what you've been asked to do." If possible, only take on those service responsibilities that are important to you.
Also, recognize that the teaching prep will get better. I am at a point now where, unless I introduce a new course (which, of course, I am expected to do periodically, and want to do), I have many of my courses ready to go. Of course I change things every year (in the hopes of creating the Ur-Course, the One Course to Bind Them All). But I can walk into class and talk about Renaissance Italy without slaving for hours to write a lecture (thank God). There's a certain amount of inevitable suckage when prepping new courses, that's really hard to avoid.
What should faculty workloads look like? I'm probably not the best person to answer that. I have no kids, my husband lives in another state, and I tend to dedicate myself to my work to compensate. (My work, and CSI in all its variations.) But I do think everyone has to find a balance that works for them. And not get sucked into the kinds of masochistic "I work harder than you, no you don't, I work the hardest" one-upmanship that often pervades academia.
So, after all these words, I'm not sure I'm helping ewjn06 very much. Anyone else want to weigh in? What words of advice and wisdom would you provide? What should a faculty workload look like, and how do you get yours to look that way?