Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm gonna crab

Because this is something that makes me crabby.

It's people falling down on their responsibilities, and leaving the people who do take responsibility seriously to pick up after them.

I'm also crabby because I was out of town the end of last week (meetings), a colleague gave an exam in my absence, and at 8 am - 8 farging AM - I had a student at my door demanding to know how he did.


I didn't mean to bite his head off, but this is the time of year when things go nuts. And also, I was still upset over how the meetings went.

For one thing: I had a guy very demandingly ask for a time-slot (I was organizing one of the programs). So I put him in. I made a point of e-mailing him his time to find out if it was OK (because this is someone who has not been OK with stuff in the past, and for petty reasons).

Guess who never showed up to the meetings? And never e-mailed me to let me know? So as meeting chair, I looked a bit of a fool going, "Um, er...Is Alan here? Has anyone seen Alan?"

The other thing: I had to drive up extra-early for a special meeting, as I was a group chair. All the group chairs were supposed to be there. Guess how many were?

(Me. And one other group chair, who had another responsibility).

We did have a quorum, because other officers were there. But it irked me. I drove nearly 4 hours to get there. I cancelled a class so I could be there on time. I got a hotel room - which, because of budget cuts, will probably ultimately mostly come out of my own pocket.

And other people, people who lived closer, couldn't be arsed to be there.

One of the other people at the meeting and I were talking about it: how it seems the Millennial irresponsibility is beginning to move into the workforce, how a lot of new younger profs say they'll take on responsibility but then don't do it when it actually comes around. And that makes me angry - because I know some of them claim credit for it. I was taught to never agree to do anything I knew I wouldn't be able to do, and what's more, I was taught to put my own wants and even sometimes, needs, on the back burner when there were other things that needed to be attended to.

The problem is, people like me wind up being killed with work - we're the geese that lay the golden eggs, and everyone who has something they want us to do slits us open a little wider to get at those eggs. And eventually we're either gonna die, because we've been disemboweled in the interest of getting stuff done that no one else will do, or we will grab the wound in our belly and say NO MORE.

I don't know what the solution is. Maybe an ultimatum, on the part of the leadership of the group: "If people do not step up and take responsibility, we will disband." Or the threat of sending letters to department chairs of people who slack off on their responsibilities. I don't know. As much as I hate being treated like an irresponsible child by TPTB (because I know very well how to take responsibility for myself, thank you), I can kind of see how they sometimes feel pushed to do it by people who are just...absent.

I am also growing frustrated with the irresponsibility of a certain student. I'm in my stats class, explaining where you get the standard error for for a certain test. I go through all of it, do sample calculations. And then he pipes up from the back, "What is SE again and how do you get it?"

Dear boy. Dear, dear boy. Take the damn earbuds out of your ears and pay some damn attention. The reason you earned a 35% on your last exam is for reasons just like this - you sit in the back, zone out, don't take notes, and then expect me to re-teach it just for you in office hours. And I can't do that. I can't sum up the five to ten hours you were "absent" in even a couple hours of office hours. Nor should I have to. It's your duty to come to class and to "be" there when you are there.

I don't know. I think my "work 'til you die" retirement plan will become necessary, not just because of my investments having tanked, but because it seems like there are vanishingly few people in the upcoming generation with the chops to pick up where we all leave off.

1 comment:

Kate P said...

I'd like to join in the crabbing! After class today, I wanted to CRY because out of 19 students only 7 (!) did the homework I assigned them. TWO WEEKS AGO. I took names.