Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On Resentment and Patience

Every year, one or two problems/requests by faculty/staff get under my skin. A post in the spring of this year articulates part of why some things get under my skin. It's complicated.

What it boils down to is that every year, really throughout the year, but it's most unnerving during the beginning of school when we're working overtime, someone outright refuses to do anything for themselves. Now, they don't just say, "I'm not going to do that." But they wheedle and beg and plead and make excuses. Usually the thing they want me to do is simple. Many people can and do do this thing for themselves. I'll admit it. I hate this. And I resent it. I feel that it's unfair to the people who at least try to tackle tasks for themselves and only call on me when they get stuck. I also feel it's unfair to devote hours of time doing this task for one person when there are 150 other people who need me to focus on other things--making sure the scanners work, for example or getting the blog software functioning or making sure enrollments are going well in Blackboard. These things affect lots of people. Oh, and another thing about the tasks I'm asked to do that I resent. They're usually outside the norm in a bad way. They're not someone trying a new technology that no one has used before. For that, I'd do backflips to help them. No, it's usually some ancient dinosaur technology that they refuse to let go of and yet, they haven't quite figured it out almost ten years into using it.

It's hard to be patient with these people at this time of year. We try, but I also feel the need to draw a line somewhere and say, I appreciate you need my help, but so do 150 other people and right now my priority is X because it affects all the faculty and students. When I'm done with X, I can help you. Might I suggest you not wait on this until the last minute so that your task isn't competing with X or Y? Might I suggest also that you consider using X for which there is ample support and I'm not the only one who can help you.

That seems reasonable, no? The problem is, it usually goes in one ear and out the other. Sigh. Patience truly is a virtue.