Monday, November 20, 2017

Turkey Acquisition and Other Tasks of the Modern Administrator

Today is my only day of work this week, so I anticipate that it will be a full one.  We have a holiday lunch for faculty and staff today;  I found myself in charge of the turkey acquisition.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.  At first, we thought we could piggy back our order on the Ft. Lauderdale campus order, and we publicized the event.  And then it turns out that we couldn't piggy back our order.  I thought, how hard can it be?  We couldn't get a similar deal, and so I spent more hours than I would have thought possible in procuring turkey.

We don't have a stove on campus, so many of our options weren't possible.  I also wanted the turkey carved, and perhaps it's not surprising to find out that many places will sell a cooked turkey, but you must carve it yourself.  We went with Doris' Italian Market, in part because we got a decent deal, but in larger part because they could deliver a cooked, carved turkey.  We ordered 3 of them.

I've spent the week-end dreaming about this event today.  I've dreamed that we could cook on campus.  I've dreamed that we just had an ordinary dinner.  I've woken up worried that the turkeys won't come.

I keep reminding myself that it's just one meal.  I'm not feeding homeless people--we'll go on to have dinner.  And we're bringing dishes to share, so it's not like anyone will go hungry.

And I keep reminding myself that I didn't volunteer for this task, and I've done the best job that I can do.  If for some reason the turkeys do not satisfy, it won't be a job ending moment.

I'm intrigued by how I feel responsible for it all, and how I'm trying to keep it in perspective.  I remember when I was a much younger woman in grad school, and we were warned against being the one who would always make the coffee or bring the cookies--our female mentors thought that it would be likely, since we would be one of few female faculty members.

That may have been true, had I gone the research university, tenure track route.  And yet, I wasn't studying Engineering.

At my current campus, we have far more women working than men.  I don't mind pitching in to procure food, especially if I have more time to devote to that project than others might.  I've even been known to bring in cookies.

I've been surprised by how many people have expressed their worries about the sign up sheet.  I even had one person suggest to me that I should be doing more to organize the pot luck, perhaps assigning food groups to people.  But that's a bridge too far, for me.  I want everyone to bring foods they love, and if we end up with more starchy side dishes and desserts than nutritious veggies, I don't care. 

I return to my central point:  it's one meal, for well-fed, Western, working folks.  If we leave hungry, we'll all go home to have dinner.

Update:  the turkeys were delivered--carved and hot and right on schedule.  We had several tables of food that people brought, and it was all delicious--think of the best church potluck you've ever had--it was like that.  People relaxed and laughed and talked and it was great.

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