Saturday, June 12, 2021

Appreciation for Work in All Its Forms

The rhythms of life on a campus interest me, how some weeks are fairly laid back, while others are much more intense.  Then there's the time here and there that compresses that rhythm into an entire week.  But most of my weeks are like that--some days are oddly empty of communication, where I have a colleague send me an e-mail, just to make sure the system isn't broken, and then there's the day when all the week's e-mails seem to come in one hour, demanding immediate attention.

I expected yesterday to be one of those intense days; it was the rare day when we were expecting so many people to come to campus that we made a list of who we should be on the lookout for.  Later, I made this Facebook post:

"We were expecting many people to come to campus today: the health inspector doing the annual check on biohazardous waste storage, the head of IT, the student considering enrolling in our Vet Tech program, and the person delivering coffee/tea pods. We were not expecting the plumber.

But we do have toilets in the women's restroom that need to be replaced, and he's here with new toilets and parts. And we don't have male students on campus today, so we can use the men's room.


In the end, we didn't ever see the head of IT or the health inspector.  We did get 4 of our 5 boxes of tea pods, but the potential student never came.  It was the kind of day where I didn't want to immerse myself too deeply in any projects because I knew I was likely to be interrupted.

Some of the interruptions were worth it.  Late in the afternoon, a student stopped by.  She gave me a thank you card with a kind note that thanked me for helping her.  I got downright teary.

Much of what I do to keep the school running is unseen by students, which is as it should be.  Most of the students in the school where I'm an administrator will never have me as a teacher, which makes me even more invisible.  I do find meaning in keeping the school running smoothly--being persistent in insisting that we need the toilets to be fixed, filling up the snack basket, strategizing with faculty about how to solve issues.  Often I get verbal thank yous, particularly from faculty.  

I will keep that card--I have a whole file of stuff that I save to remind me that my work is important.  Happily, there aren't many days when I need to look at the file.  I am in a space where I'm appreciated--and some days, I even get a card to remind me of that fact.

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