Mutiny on campus

This weekend my socks are steamed by a bit of gossip I heard at work. It goes like this:

There’s one job where I work that most of us hate doing, but that needs to be done. The folks in my department are pretty good at bulling through this task maybe 90% of the time, which still leaves us getting the occasional reminder or threat about finishing the last 10%. But apparently there are some people, in some departments, who never do this job at all no matter how much of it has been assigned to them or how much we need it to be completed. And instead of nagging or threatening them – because neither of those has worked – the rumor is that TPTB are going to hire someone to do the job they let slide.

That’s right. The people who give 90% are dunned for the last 10%, as if we had given nothing at all; and the people who give 0% are rewarded. Seeing this, am I kicking myself for not having done 100% all along, or am I kicking myself for ever having done this task at all? You only need one guess.

This isn’t the first time such a thing has happened. Folks in my division are good little soldiers who plod along at unpleasant, poorly designed tasks while other departments mutiny. Usually the first thing we hear of the mutiny is when administration takes the task away from faculty because we can’t be trusted to do it, at which point we benefit without ever having mutinied – so the story’s more complicated than my initial presentation, isn’t it?

There are always at least three sides to a mutiny. The folks who mutiny against a rule, the folks who want them to follow the rule, and the folks who say ‘Isn’t there a better way to do it, anyway?’ In academia, as opposed to pirate novels,¬†everything moves so slowly that the third group has time to chime in, and thus we progress. I, however, am never on any of these sides, and I honestly don’t know how to feel about that.

I do feel there’s a Royal Academy story in here somewhere, though. What counts as heinous busywork in the Demonology Department, and will demons be the enforcers or the mutineers? Hmm.

Related Post

This entry was posted in academic happenings, life around campus, real life. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.