December 06, 2007

We must protect the Sellotape from December

Why can't we have access to stationery?

Yes, I'm serious. Why can't I have access to the stationery cupboard? Why can't any of the lecturers, from the junior to the professors, have access to the stationery cupboard?

More to the point, why do all the admin staff get to have access to stationery, but we lecturers do not?

This is how the system works:
Say you want a ...paperclip. You would have to get a stationery form, fill it in, and put the form in the appropriate administrator's pigeonhole. (Good luck figuring that one out since she left some months ago.) Then you wait until the administrator has some time to go and get you your stationery. And no the administrator doesn't like it if you want it at a snap of your fingers, they naturally want to do it at their convenience not yours.

Alternatively you could go to the nearest colleague's office and ask them whether they have a paper clip.

So therefore don't ever require any stationery out of hours, because you won't get it.

When I arrived here, I couldn't believe that such a stupid system existed. I asked the head honcho administrator why. I got told officiously that when it had been a help yourself system, rolls of sellotape tended to go missing around December time (at this point the administrator glanced meaningfully in my direction), and also we tended to run out of stocks because people would take stationery and not notify the admin staff.

This just sends me ballistic. So we swapped a system where SOMETIMES the stationery you wanted wasn't instantly available, for a system where the stationery you wanted was NEVER instantly available?! Unbelievable! And why are administrators entrusted with the oh so precious sellotape? Surely the cost of the sellotape is much less than the cost of the administrators' time in fulfilling stationery requests?!

And... it's got worse. It used to take about two days to get stationery. Now, if you're lucky, it takes a week.

As a consequence, I think our stationery bills have probably gone up. Now everyone has little caches of stationery in their desk drawers. Lots of unused stationery around the building, lots of old envelopes with gum going unsticky.... the easiest solution is often to buy your own.

And people wonder why a divide develops between the administrators and the academics! Obviously the administrators don't trust us as far as they can throw a paperclip. How much do the academics trust the administrators? Who knows? We can't demonstrate because we haven't any paperclips to throw....


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