Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oh really?

I did something at work the other day that was something I actually used to teach unsuspecting undergraduates how to do. Without thinking about it, I had simply gone ahead and done it cause I thought "what the hell, I used to teach this stuff for a living, I can do it with no problem". My boss agreed at it was done.

Then ages after I had forgotten about it, it became apparent that for reasons of office politics, that I had to have my work approved through some other channel. So off I went to get the requisite approval. And of course it was approved. My colleagues actually complimented me on how good it was and how they usually have problems with everyone else in the office not doing a very good job.

I resisted the temptation to say: "Well yes, I know more about this than most people, as I have taught undergraduates how to perform the same tasks, and I have published in peer reviewed academic journals on these topics".  I simply smiled and said "Thanks for the feedback, I am glad to hear that everything is ok". Oh the irony!

Obviously I can't say what the task was (for reasons of anonymity and not outing my colleague who is perfectly well meaning), but it is sometimes ludicrous to think that even when my current job actually happens to have direct relevance to my academic experience, I have to have my work over-seen by someone with less experience in this area than me. But of course, this is the way the office heirarchy works - and I am sure I am not the first person to feel chaffed by having a more senior person with less practical knowledge having to sign off on tasks.

In fact, come to think of it, isn't this what every story about work involves?

I believe this is the nature of work. But what the hell, as long as I am getting good feedback, then I don't really care if it's something that I can do in my sleep. Just working in an evironment where you're not having knives stuck in every word you write, paper you give or class you teach more than makes up for the lack of autonomy.

1 comment:

  1. The issue of autOnomy is an interesting one. One of the reasons I was drawn to LAP was what appeared to be a very independent, autonomous work life. But I see now that while I am in control of my schedule there is very little autonomy with constant check ins from higher ups. Also, I have very little autonomy in what I say/write to professors. Most of what I say/write is template from LAP, so it definitely lacks independent thought. I wish I could find something with a good balance of some checking in with higher ups but also the opportunity to actually write/speak my own words/thoughts.