I’ve been Chair for ten days, and I already learned a lot. I will now never ever EVER bitch about the administration ever again. These people are amazing.
In these 10 days, I’ve been in touch with all sorts of administrators in all sorts of offices. After 11 years at this school, this is the first time I’ve heard of their existence. Friends, these people work like absolute animals. Every question, request or suggestion I have is being responded to immediately and very productively.
There are people who contact me of their own free will to say, “I heard you expressed an interest in X to the Associate Dean Y, and here’s what I can do to help.” Everything happens instantly. People constantly follow up to ask if there’s anything else they can do for me. Every wish is met like I’m the only grandchild of a bunch of elderly great-grandparents. I’ve never felt this… heard, I guess, in my life. Or at least since my great-grandparents died.
In academia, everything normally works at a glacial pace. But that’s because it’s professors who are doing things. I’m the only maniac who meets every deadline in advance and does everything on the spot, so I always suffer.
If I didn’t love research like I do, I’d totally be thinking of moving into administration. I’m very inspired by effectiveness and efficiency. And now I’m experiencing a daily orgasm of institutional effectiveness. So far (and yes, it’s only been 10 days but still) there has been not a single stupid request or time-wasting activity.
I now realize that my leisurely vegetation of the past 11 years was made possible by this crowd of individuals working like busy bees to make everything happen. I feel almost abjectly grateful to all these people.
I’m very stunned to be writing these words because I expected the exact opposite. I even meditated to prepare myself for institutional idiocy and steel myself against stupid people wasting my time. But I’m realizing that I’m actually the one who needs to pick up the pace and work faster and think more clearly.