August 4, 2010
From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...
My day began with a 3+ hour training session run by the central admissions office. As longtime readers know, I hate the central admissions office. Graduate admissions is a constant battle between the department and the university proper and the university always seems to win, because they were here before me and they'll be here long after I leave (please please please let that time be soon). Suffice it to say, I was not looking forward to this training.
But lo and behold, it was actually good. Interactive, informative, dare I say: enjoyable. I LEARNED things. Things I didn't know before! I can't tell you how rare that is for training sessions like this. In the ~4 years I've been working in higher education administration, I've attended several institutionalized trainings, which usually go like this.
Pick up your packet.
Grab coffee and muffin.
Spill coffee (okay that might just be me).
Read the things in your packet while you wait for the speaker to begin.
Doze off/space out/doodle while the speaker reiterates everything you just read in the packet.
Q&A, in which people ask extremely specific questions that apply only to their jobs/situations. Speaker answers a minimum of 2 follow-up questions before suggesting that the questioner contact him/her personally.
Sneak out before the thing is over because you can't take another second.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did leave this training early, but mostly because I was anxious about getting things done in the office, and not because I was bored out of my skull. Progress!
Meeting with admissions people from departments all over campus was first depressing, then gratifying. If I was not the youngest person in the room, I was easily the second-youngest, and most of the people were old, short, overweight and poorly dressed. Not kidding. Dudes had long hair, women were wearing tennis shoes and homemade shawls. It was not a pretty sight. Good god, let me get out of here before I become one of them, I said to myself.
But then the commiserating started. As I texted to my friend M, we have many differences, but one key similarity: we all hate the applicants. We complained about dumb applicants, bitchy applicants, applicants who need to have things reconfirmed four or five times. International applicants, non-California residents, reapplicants....we all hate them all. It was life-affirming. So enjoyable was the work-related commiseration, I was almost tempted to tell these people about this blog, but then remembered that for the sake of keeping my job until I finally fulfill my dream of becoming of a trophy wife and living out my days in my Infinity Pool, I need to prevent my place of employment from knowing my true feelings.
The joy of commiseration was so great, I really want to extend to you all (both?). Would you like to anonymously guest-post-bitch about your jobs? It's fun, I swear.