Administrator Strategy

What would you call an administrator who spends the two hours of a meeting, chewing the cud about trivial, unimportant stuff, and at the end says, “Sorry, we are out of time, I’ll just briefly mention these budget cuts (or other extremely unpopular measures). That’s it, now we are really out of time. Good bye!”?

This happens every single time. And nobody agrees with me that this isn’t accidental but a deliberate strategy to avoid a discussion or a confrontation. The meetings are online, so once the organizer hits the button “end meeting for all,” nobody gets to say anything else.

I feel gaslit not even by the administrator but by the colleagues who say I’m “reading too much into this.”

This didn’t happen once or twice. It’s been 1,5 years of bimonthly meetings run this way.

21 thoughts on “Administrator Strategy

        1. Maybe it depends on the connotations of the term “weasel” in your neck of the woods? I find it more specific than dipshit. It’s the difference between sneaky bastard, and dumb bastard 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Of course it’s intentional, colleagues who claim it’s not are either dumb or in on it.

    Maybe call his bluff? “Excuse me, do you think there’s a chance you could deliver the bad news now so we can discuss it?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m trying to organize people to support me in the request but if nobody does, l will do it myself.

      Why are people so blind to these primitive tricks? It’s not even a sophisticated strategy of manipulation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Because they want to believe that the person who has authority over them is not playing them. That makes them dupes. The longer they are dupes, the harder they will cling to the idea that the guy is not playing them. Because if he’s been doing this for over a year, that makes them drooling idiots. It’s probably worse in academia, where “smart” is the primary value.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Exactly. “Daddy would never do anything bad to me because he loves me.”

          But the boss is not your daddy. Your daddy is your daddy. Don’t look for unconditional love in the workplace.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Did all of these people have kind fathers who loved them unconditionally and never did anything bad to them? If you grew up with an abusive father, you develop a reflexive suspicion of father figures in general. Anyone in that role is automatically viewed with a jaundiced eye and has to work very hard to earn your trust.

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        2. “Because they want to believe that the person who has authority over them is not playing them. That makes them dupes.”

          Or, that makes them folks who want to eventually accede to the office that currently has “authority over them.” The rules are clear – go along to get along.

          Never underestimate the inducement of ever-grander job titles that come with larger offices/better views as a mechanism for enforcing regime stability.

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            1. “I have a hard time understanding it…”

              You don’t have to understand it to fear it. In my experience, academics as a category are obsessed, really obsessed, with their titles and office sizes – kind of like the minor nobility of yore.

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  2. Long ago, the administrative meetings you’re describing were expected to promote an open, respectful exchange of ideas/information/opinions between senior management and faculty administrators in the interests of making better institutional decisions.

    In my experience, today they are mostly Potemkin villages designed to ensure faculty compliance to the diktats of senior management – ie a ceremonial, legitimizing institutional form without content.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interrupt the meeting and move to adjourn it unless there are more urgent matters to discuss.

    Robert’s Rules were also constructed to deal with grandstanding meeting holders.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, the infamous Robert’s Rules. I do have a colleague who wields them like a weapon, and not for good. I think the best rule is a no-meeting rule… Anyway, most of the meetings I end up having to attend have an informational character (i.e., the decision has been made, we just pretend to listen to you now so you feel better about it).

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      1. “most of the meetings I end up having to attend have an informational character”

        I think it was Michael Korda who wrote that participants of meetings are divided into performers and audience -if you’re not sure which you are then…. you’re part of the audience and it’s not a good idea to try to go up on stage.

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      2. More from Korda (paraphrasing):
        Most committees meet to ratify decisions that have already been made long before.
        Most surveys and reports, however elaborate, are usually designed to justify plans that have already been made or to serve as expensive rationalizations for decisions that were taken before the ‘facts’ were ever put on paper.
        In most offices, the majority of the staff is employed in preparing explanations for actions that have already been taken and in building support for projects that are already underway.

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  4. It doesn’t matter if it’s deliberate. Maybe the administrator just personally wants to avoid confrontations, maybe they just really want to protect the precious psyches of your co-workers. Maybe they know what they’re doing, but are so conflicted that they bawl and cry before sleep.

    Doesn’t matter – the budget cuts are the most important issue in the meetings, and so they need to be covered before anything else.

    Liked by 2 people

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