Soviet Skills

In the USSR, you weren’t allowed to sell your apartment. So if you needed a bigger or a different apartment or one located in another neighborhood, you had to swap. Rarely did people find partners for a direct swap where each family would need exactly what the other family had. So what you had to do was build chains. If I go to A’s apartment, and A goes to B’s, B’s family splits and goes to C’s and D’s apartments, while C and D get married and move into mine. Then you have to get everybody on board and make sure they all move in and out at the same time.

Something similar happens in my work as Chair. Today, I had to close an under-enrolled section, open another, swap two more, and shuffle a bunch of people around so that everybody goes into the correct section, nobody’s schedule is disturbed, teaching loads are preserved, students don’t get lost, and the Dean’s Office is happy. It’s like a mathematical puzzle, and I love it. I had no idea I’d enjoy this kind of stuff so much. My Soviet skills are in high demand.

And to people who think socialism would be so much better, what I have to say is: you poor innocent child. You have no idea and good for you.

7 thoughts on “Soviet Skills

  1. ” what you had to do was build chains”

    I did this a few years ago with classrooms. I needed a particular room with a projectors (and needed to be on a particular side of the building) and the room assignments had been parceled out and no further changed were supposed to be allowed
    Looking at the room assignments and knowing all the teachers I worked out an elaborate shift of 4 or 5 rooms so that I could get the room I wanted. It took two weeks to get everybody’s agreement to switch.
    And then two weeks later the projector developed a bug (still usable but with a black splotch in one corner)…. and is still not fixed!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “until the last sentence”

        Well two of the other rooms I could have tried for were being used by higher ranked persons who were often off at conferences or other lofty taks… or beset with mysterious illnesses with no real symptoms so between them I was able to use one of the other rooms well over half the time, announcing which room we were using that week just became part of the class…

        It took over a month of me (and other teachers) bugging the supposed tech person to walk across the hall and take a look at the problematic projector… after one second he said ‘It’s the lightbulb, we’ll have to order a new one’…. over a year later it finally arrived and after a few weeks we got a physical plant worker to change the lightbulb…. and that turned out to not be the problem at all. The decision was then made to replace the whole projector…. which was then sidelined by the unit being eliminated and by the time it was reconstructed about a year later our contagious friend from the East showed up and that’s where things still stand…


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