Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bureaucracy Series 2011

Just in case anyone doesn't know I work for a living, I present the following:

Bureaucracy Series 2011

The institutional meeting: never does it take so many so long to do so little.

Why would I need to go to MLA? I’m already on Facebook, aren’t I?

This hyperactive anxiety and trapped feeling is exactly what involving oneself in American university, intellectual, artistic, and broader public discourse causes. I guess I’m finally home again and ready to go to work.

Now playing seriously discordant music, so that organized chaos can bludgeon the chaos of organization out of my head... temporarily, I know.

Academic gossip = low-hanging fruit.

Who administrates the administrators in these U.S. universities? And if the only answer is, “More administrators and Boards of Directors,” then we’re headed for trouble.

Hundreds served yearly.

Becoming a bureaucrat: Nature or Nurture?

In my dreams last night, I learned that I can't take a bus ride, hang out with friends, eat a plate of chicken fingers, and make it back to class on time when I only have a five-minute break between classes. My dreams were very insistent on this point.

People who insist that educational standards are too low but then make angry phone calls if their children don't get A's? I see... perhaps you wanted higher standards only for others?

My office has windows, but not windows that can be opened.

E-mail Question: Who do I ask about this? Response: Please contact the site administrator. Question: Who is the site administrator? Response: I am. I’ll get back to you about this.

Why do something burdensome and vaguely necessary once when you can also do it a second time, totally uselessly?
These complicated online grading systems often act as if progressive teaching pedagogy has never happened. All these bells, clangs, and whistles, yet the systems still assume that instructors mark “errors” in red ink.

A company is an organization, with means at its disposal. So why shouldn't workers also have an organization with means at its disposal? Of course organizations on either side can take advantage of conditions, and often do, but fundamentally, both sides in any work related discussion should be treated similarly in terms of their relationships to organizations, and the laws that allow them to organize. Therefore: if corporations can exist, unions can exist.

I want to be in a band called Job Application Screening Death Machine.

In my dream, we reviewed job candidates by having one white man put on black face and imitate a candidate, then take off the black face, put it on again and imitate another candidate, each time kneeling with his hands behind his back, execution-style. Really, oh my unconscious? Really?

What goal could life have other than moving the maximum possible number of units?

May I gently suggest that creating another official document might cause more problems than it solves?

That moment when I tell people how things work at my university and they look at me in stunned or incredulous silence.

I is an institutional function.

Long hours of discussion about problems no one is going to try to solve!

Event Listings “needs” information about the event three months in advance, while Events Planning will let you plan it about a month in advance.

May the infrastructure have mercy on my poor wiring.

Your advice is logical, but unfortunately the situation is not.
The structure announced that it was pleased with itself despite the challenges that lay ahead.

Bureaucracy encourages passivity because, over time, the blockades it sets up make even valuable actions feel not worth the effort.

I love exclamation points! In work correspondence! Proves we love our jobs and institutions! That we look forward brightly to our future institutional work! With high spirits! Never enough exclamation points!!!!! SO Happy To Be Here and Use Them!!!!!!!!

In an era when institutions are supposed to create “vision statements,” I keep wondering what it would look like to see an institution having a vision.

My campus appears to be using an online computer system that has bugs and that also has no readily identifiable source to contact regarding problems. The great computerized future of education continues to amaze.

This time of year, I could do my job more effectively if I could be purchased in a 3-pack.

When I look over the broad, debris-strewn expanse of bureaucratic documentation that I have to complete in the next few weeks so that it can sit barely touched, in some cases for years, in a computer capsule, I’m moved to an almost mystical awe at the human capacity to create non-essential work.

I left one meeting today at the moment when people were debating whether the official paragraph about where professors should keep student papers was a rule or a guideline.

I’m afraid that if I complain on Facebook about how many recommendations I have to write, someone is going to see it and ask me to write them a recommendation.

After a long discussion, the committee finally agreed that it would be important to take some kind of action.

The first business before the committee: whether it really was the officially authorized committee for examining the work of other committees.

When I feel myself losing faith in the U.S. education system, along comes a man like Chancellor Reed, who raises the salary of top administrators in the CSU system, expands the teams of lawyers designed to protect them, moves trustee and other decision-making meetings to private, undisclosed locations, and tries to finance it all with funds gained by attacking faculty and staff salaries, workload, and bargaining rights, as well as faculty academic freedom, and by massively and frequently raising the tuition of an often naive or complacent student body, more of whom are getting it all the time and speaking their minds in public protests where they can be assaulted by police with paramilitary style weapons who claim to be ensuring everybody's safety.

When, after months of long work hours using the performative friendliness and defensive wariness that allows me to function, I finally have a bit of time to read and write and be, at first it’s like being peeled open, and everything I’ve had no time to feel or think about always threatens to overwhelm me.


Karen said...

I found funny your comment that you feared people reading that you write too many recommendations would ask you for a recommendation (although it probably isn't really). And I loved the last paragraph, had a clear image of your "performative friendliness" and "defensive wariness," and/but felt sad at the frozen state the necessary unthawing implies, and that it has to be painful. Then again, better to unthaw however painfully than not!

Anonymous said...

Where can I get some administrative porn? You know, the fantasy where the chick fills out a form -- wink wink -- and then the guy, you know, promises that he'll get to it as soon as he can. Oh, there's never any intercourse -- just men & women & paper. Pens. Thumb drives. Taco Bell. That kind of thing. -------Blood &

(verification word: fellat !)