Belated Realization

What really really angers me when I work with people is how they self-infantilize to wiggle out of work. Even thinking about it makes me feel enraged.

Which is why I probably shouldn’t have become a department chair.

23 thoughts on “Belated Realization”

  1. Reply to Belated Realization

    I am not sure what you mean by “self-infantilize.”

    I came to realize after a number of years that there were some things that were simply beyond my skill set, and always would be. So, for example, I was willing to serve as chair of a committee but not to be secretary of the same committee, since writing up minutes was something I never was able to master. There are other examples, but this is the most extreme one.


    1. If I place a document we are all supposed to be writing together in Google Docs and instead of introducing the changes directly into the document people send me long, pouty emails about how they would like to see the document changed, that’s self-infantilization.

      If instead of sending the information one wants to get out directly to the marketing team one sends it to me so that I forward it to the marketing team, that’s self-infantilization.


      1. If we act as you would prefer, they don’t like it. Always send things through the chair, is the drumbeat. I even had a chair who said it was his right to know about any conversation I had, about anything, with any person at the university at any rank higher than my own. That was after he had said I had no right to have such conversations. I’ve got a dean who says I have “no standing” to know anything about shared governance, or about how things were run at any university I’ve worked at, any department here other than my own, any university where I know anyone — or to have professional opinions about curriculum in my field.


        1. I understand but I gave two extensive pre-election talks where I said verbatim this, “I want you to feel empowered to make your own decisions because I trust every one of you completely and I trust your professional judgment implicitly. You don’t need to inform me about your decisions. But if the need arises, I promise you that I will defend every one of your decisions at any level of administration with everything I’ve got. And I don’t need to approve them beforehand or even know about them to do that.” But they didn’t hear me. It was complete and honest truth, though. I thought about it a lot and this is what I want. I said, if you are not into this kind of model, please don’t vote for me. That’s the only way I’m willing to do it. And they should know I’m telling the truth because I’ve fought the administration like a bastard since the day I was hired.

          Your chair and Dean are outdated dinosaurs who know nothing about modern workplace management, by the way. I passionately detest this sort of thing.


          1. The thing is that the level of authoritarianism we have here is new, not old, and they claim to have gotten it from consultants teaching them modern workplace management. // I know you told people what you told them, but it will take them a long time to get used to it. Also: I deal with this a lot. I don’t think it’s self-infantilization, I think it’s a demand to be served … entitlement, laziness, etc.


    1. This is beyond disturbing.

      Only a really bad teacher will want to use this because anybody who is even marginally qualified knows when students are interested and when they aren’t.

      Thank you for the link. I will use it in my new article on surveillance capitalism.


        1. If it comes to the point where there are underground/illegal educational facilities employing face-to-face teaching – count me in…


            1. It’ll be about three seconds before intrepid students start trying out the biosensors on their pets, to see if they can be fooled… two weeks to a month before someone figures out how to simply feed fake data into the system.


              1. I see somebody who really understands kids. 🙂

                This was tried in China and kids immediately found inventive ways to hack it. You simply can’t get technology to teach, parent, treat, etc for you. It has to be done by humans or not at all.


              2. ” intrepid students start trying out the biosensors on their pets”

                The new version of “let’s get the dog high” will be “let’s enroll the dog in Algebra”.


          1. Sometimes reading about this stuff makes me wanna just leave mainstream society and live off the grid. Of course, in reality I would hate this.


  2. “It has to be done by humans”

    The people pushing crap like remote teaching hate humans, as in they hate them more than people that planned things in the USSR did….
    They know it has to be humans or nothing…. and they’re choosing nothing (for other people, not themselves of course).


    1. “for other people, not themselves of course”

      • That’s what angers me the most. There is no Silicon Valley rich guy who chooses “online learning” for his kids. None. Anybody who can even remotely afford it buys real education for their kids. Even me. As I teach my students remotely, I’m teaching my kid in person. She gets all sorts of invitations for online learning from her daycare but I don’t even open them.


    1. Ummm… this is not a real newspaper, it’s The Guardian (decades ago was a very good newspaper but now lives off ‘progressive’ click-bait headline candy)

      Ummm… New York State (strict lock-down, a little less than twice the population of Sweden) has about 5,300 nursing home deaths. Sweden (with the “relatively light touch strategy” despised by the the Red Guards at The Guardian) has 3,225 total deaths attributed to the Wuhan flu with near half of these in nursing homes. New York’s total death count currently stands at 26,800. Do the math – adjusted for population Sweden would have to have 10,000 more COVID deaths to reach a total proportionate to New York’s numbers. Put another way, New York has a death rate of about 1378 per million of population while Sweden has 317 per million.


  3. Takeaway here is that a temporary lockdown doesn’t just “delay the inevitable,” but reduces total infections. There are benefits beyond “flattening the curve” to prevent hospital overload. I don’t fully understand the science behind this, of course, but this is always true with me and science stuff. I will try to look into it more but that doesn’t guarantee I’ll understand it better.


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