July 05, 2005

More brickbats

More brickbats raining down on my head.
*ouch* *ouch* *OUCH*.

Once again, they are due to this administrative role.

You don't get any credit for performing the role well, but I certainly don't expect any: in academia you have to get your own job satisfaction by you yourself noting positive things along the way, like the pass rate of the students in your class, or a piece of really good work from a student, or even simply a lack of complaints (no news is really good news around here). Nobody is going to come along and pat you on the head for good work, just like you don't generally compliment your colleagues, because most of the time you don't really know what they are up to. They teach their classes, you teach yours.

But put a foot wrong, and all hell breaks loose. Never mind that very nearly 100% of the time I do a superb job, including being polite and helpful to students and staff, even though I've been under a great deal of stress that makes it very difficult for me to keep being polite and helpful, oh no, never mind that, one time you're accidentally rude when you don't mean to be and BAM that's the time you get noticed and colleagues give you a bollocking.

So once again, I'm stressed, and I can't even deliver a few sharp words in the directions where the major cock-ups have come from because it would get them mad at me and be completely counter-productive. I'm really fed up of taking the rap for situations where the extent of my blame in the situation boils down to me not being clairvoyant, and I'm still waiting for an apology from the person who engineered the latest cock-up. Also the few occasions when the mistake has been mine, not someone else's, I find very upsetting and stressful too. Yes, I'm something of a perfectionist.

Something interesting: I have actually had some positive comments about how well I've been doing this role (which I certainly didn't expect), three of 'em, and as far as I can recall, each of the positive comments came from women in the department. All the bollockings, four of 'em, have come from men. HmmmMMMM.


At 2:01 pm, Blogger FactoBrunt said...

Interesting! But surely by not ever complimenting your collegues you are simply falling into the trap that you are complaining about - that nobody compliments each other. It's part of human nature that it's easier to pick fault than to recognise good work, and it's one of the reasons I hate being around people. Is it any wonder that some people worry about what other people think when its sure fire that they'll be picking fault rather than making good. I'll be glad when I retire to a farm in central Wales... only 37 years left, *sigh*

At 11:48 pm, Blogger Lossy said...

Oh I agree. It's a shame that amongst my colleagues, and I guess in academia in general, paths don't cross more often to provide more opportunities for compliments and a bit of mutual support.

In fact, on one occasion recently when we did get a good look at what we were doing, in a small group under some teaching procedure we had to follow, everybody was very complimentary and constructive about the others' work. It was nice to see and experience, for a change!

I guess in the scenario above, tempers were getting frayed towards the end of the academic year, and of course it's really important that we don't make certain sorts of cockups, like for example listing marks incorrectly, otherwise it can have majorly bad effects on students' lives, even if you do manage to sort it out later. So that's why bollockings can happen, but it's still upsetting, and you just have to suck it up, trying not to yell back but instead being rational and constructive about the whole thing.

At 3:32 pm, Blogger Camicao said...

lossy- I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see you articulate so perfectly what has been depressing me lately. I think your post (and your previous one on "the admin role") really captures the solitary nature of this kind of work, and the ways in which normal people such as ourselves, can be driven to unfortunate extremes. There are only so many brickbats one can take without losing one's temper, and what's worse-- after the brickbats, one is waiting for more to come.


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