“I’d have you  lot up in front of the University authorities first thing in the morning, if it wasn’t for the fact that you are the University authorities…”
– Terry Prachett

We are moving into one of the worst months of year at work: June is the month building up to the annual July 4th celebration.  This usually involves celebrity VIPs, nearly 100,000 additional people on campus, parades, hiring up to 100 more students for less than a week, and other assorted headaches.  Last year I got lucky and got married instead so I was out of town for the final crisis.

This year I may not get as lucky unless J. and I can come up with a cheap vacation idea.  And then there’s the guilt.  I’d be leaving some of the other girls in an awful lurch skiving off like that.  Plus Hennessy is getting married mere days before and it would rather shabby for both of us to disappear.

However, this nobility of purpose doesn’t make the impending event any less irksome.  It’s my job to get those darling student employees outfitted and, more importantly, in fear of the personal Hell that will await them if they don’t return every last piece of gear to me.  At the end of football season this past year, I was somehow seconded to be responsible for collecting and minding this stuff permanently even though I hadn’t been in charge of distributing it, recording who got what, or when it should be returned at the beginning of the year.  You may imagine the resulting confusion.  And my attitude about it.


This year will run much smoother since Hennessy and I have teamed up to tackle it, but problems are already creeping up.  Such as the fact that the Special Events department hasn’t given us a time to distribute stuff, and has decided that these students need only three hours of training (to take place three days before this nearly 100,000 people plus pyrotechnics rolls into town).

It’s fortified my bewilderment.  Ever since my personal equivalent of the burning of the Library of Alexandria, I’ve been thinking (again) about some of the glitches of working where I do.

The real problem with this university is, as I see it, is that it’s a combination of a business, a school district with too many children and not enough teachers, and (due to the religious background and funding) a monastery.  Which doesn’t combine too well, professionally speaking.  As a bureaucracy, resources are not always well-managed.  Administration errors are overlooked in the spirit of Brotherly Kindness, but minor problems lower down on the chain of command are punished with all the fervor of an inquisition.  And, completely at odds with religious teaching, good work is not rewarded while bad work is not scrutinized or punished.  It’s baffling.

5 thoughts on “Thwack!”

  1. What? You don’t subscribe to the ‘Spirit’ will take care of everything model of management? (I know lightning will strike, but I’m well insured)

    I’ll pray for your sanity, for heavenly Godiva to be provided in your hour of need, and for a nail studded bat to bean the brain-dead students who can’t get their minds wrapped around the concept of property integrity.

    Good Luck Mi Amiga!

    1. No, I’ve a more militant view coupled with Deism. Namely, “God helps those who help themselves” and “If you do something stupid, don’t be surprised when life gets difficult because chances are a large glowing hand isn’t going to swoop down to pick you up.”

      My philosophy doesn’t always go over well in RS.

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