Tuesday, October 18, 2011

laughing at work.

The SOP when something goes wrong with classroom technology is to report it to our chair, and then ask the secretary (who has the real power) to call whoever-it-is- who is to fix it.

Well, one of our projectors started going wonky. I told the chair, she groaned and said, "That probably means the bulb is starting to go. Have J. call computer services, but it seems like they order one bulb at a time, and it takes two weeks to get here."

I immediately thought of a movie line. (This is rare; I am not like Tony DiNozzo by a long shot).

"Well, ain't this place a geographical oddity," I quipped. "Two weeks from everywhere."

She laughed ruefully - I am sure she got the allusion. But that's one thing I like about where I work - that you can make jokes and people are more than likely going to laugh. Some college campuses, seriously, they look at you suspiciously and go, "What do you mean by THAT?" (possibly calculating how you offended them) or they think you aren't taking things seriously enough.

And one thing I've found is, when I lose my ability to laugh at stuff (which has happened over the last few months, largely because of the state of the world), I do get kind of miserable. And it's like I lose some of my creativity and problem-solving ability. So it's welcome to me to see my ability to laugh at stuff - especially the stupid stuff (like having to wait two weeks for a crazy projector bulb) come back.

Also, in my department, I think we're able to laugh a lot together because the problems we face tend mostly to be external to the department - funding problems, or helicopter parents, or administrators who don't totally understand that science classes cannot be taught the same way as English classes or Business classes. And that helps to make us a cohesive unit, whereas some departments have factions that fight amongst themselves, and that's just ugly and sad. One thing I'm tremendously grateful for - and which means I would have to have an extremely enticing offer elsewhere to want to leave - is that we all mostly get along. We have some differences of opinion, we all have personality quirks that can be annoying - but they're all things we can live with. And having a pleasant workplace (in my mind at least) trumps higher compensation but dealing with miserable human beings.

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