Sympathy for the devil

Posted by September Blue Thursday, 11 September 2008

My life is full of 9am meetings at the moment. Since I am not a 9am person, this is making me grumpy. (Really, am I not paying enough of a tribute to the gods of early mornings by starting work at 8.30 five days out of seven? Can't I keep my two precious, precious mornings where the alarm clock doesn't wake me at all?) But it's induction weekend coming up, and so meetings there must be, including meetings where both academic and admin staff are present.

Well, there weren't any fights. I suppose that's a plus.

If most of your university time is spent around academics, your view of the non-academic staff is shaped by the views of those around you. Non-academic staff are something like the pest snails in my aquarium: they turn up out of nowhere, they reproduce at a staggering rate, and they get everywhere. Oh, maybe they eat algae. Still. Algae. Small price to pay.

This meeting, I got to see better than ever before just what the academic staff look like to the admin people. And. Well. I hate to phrase it this way, but we are a bunch of whiny self-centred little brats.

One meeting, about one very specific topic, and I counted:
- two people asking totally irrelevant questions about administrative matters that, they wished everyone else in the room to know, made them unhappy
- one lengthy grumbling interlude from the members of one particular department, re: a change in university policy that the academic departments are split over anyway, that required an actual shushing from the person speaking at the time
- four people saying some variation of "If I have to come in on Monday...", with the definite implication that though such a strenuous task might turn them into a broken and shambling wreck, they would be willing to make such a sacrifice for future generations of academics to continue the noble fight after they had gone.

Oh, people.