Friday, October 1, 2010

Beckettian Days in the Office

Yesterday was one of those theatre of the absurd mornings in the office. I got one e-mail that said a policy had changed, so I sent out an e-mail to my department to let them know. About an hour later, we got an e-mail from a different administrator, saying, no, the policy hadn't changed that way, but we had to do it this way--maybe the policy will end up being different, maybe not. We'll have meetings to determine that. So, I sent out yet another e-mail.

Yes, some days I'm punished for being too efficient. If I had spent the morning writing poetry and then wandered into the office late, I'd have spared myself some e-mail effort.

Then, I spent hours deleting old e-mails, because my work e-mail told me that my mailboxes were close to getting so full that I wouldn't be able to send e-mails. It's my fault. It's hard for me to sort as I read, and so, old e-mails accumulate as new e-mails come in. Eventually I end up with a pile to delete. Sigh.

This week, my time has been consumed in the maw of administrator duties. I'm feeling that crankiness that comes from not having written anything.

Wait, after weeding through e-mails yesterday, I must amend that. I write a lot on any given day, any given week. A lot of dreck and drivel. If I was the kind of person who picked up the phone, I wouldn't have such a depressing record of how I spend my work time. Yet, it must be done. People have questions, I have answers. People need to leave written records and trails, as do I. Because of all this background work, education happens.

I spent a delightful afternoon with new faculty, helping with new faculty orientation. I need these times to remind me of why we do what we do as administrators. As a teacher, I didn't have so many moments of crushing doubt about the worth of my daily work. As an administrator, that is not the case. My job is to make an easier path for the faculty in my department, and sometimes, I don't have the power to make the path easier--and I can't always be sure about the best way to do that. It's lovely when I do, like when I can be a resource person for new faculty.

I also need to remember that as a faculty member, there would be times when my writing life would suffer because of my work life. Life is cyclical for all of us, after all. Some days, the planets align, and we write with ease. In other weeks, we sense our waning creativity. If you're like me, you feel a bit of panic during those times. It's important to remember that a writing burst is likely just around the corner.

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