1 week down, infinity to go

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Yeah, yeah, I know.

But this is actually a brief post of semi-serious reflection. This is not the first time I've been called upon to do a little administration--in Virginia, I was the coordinator for the Professional Writing part of our MA program. This involved a little bit of curriculum design/revision, a little bit of scheduling, a little bit of advising, and, in my recollection at least, was largely informal.

But this is the first time where I've occupied a more formal position, one that carries its own office, and one where I actually rate assistance. M is not an "assistant" or "secretary" per se--her official title is Graduate Program Coordinator. I'm tempted to observe that M in fact does the "real work" while I strut around singing the praises of J. J. Abrams, Tony Shalhoub, and Junior Mints. It's not quite that bad, though--take a look at my schedule for next week if you don't believe me. Programs of all sizes and inclinations need both direction and coordination.

But see, one of the things that she coordinates is my calendar, which is both odd and tremendously liberating. It's odd, because I'm pretty self-sufficient as far as my professional life goes. I generally prefer to make my own copies, run my own errands--I don't like to make work for other people. And yet, there's a real luxury in allowing someone else to manage my calendar. In my first week, it's the biggest felt change in my life. I don't have to worry about setting up appointments, juggling demands, etc. They just talk to M, and I show up when I'm supposed to.

I could get used to that. I know that pretty much everyone from middle management on up in pretty much every industry already takes this for granted, and maybe someday I will too. But not for a while yet. Right now, I'm deeply appreciative, for something as silly as a printout of my weekly calendar that someone else has generated for me.

That is all.


It IS nice to have someone manage the calendar, until you get into an administrative job where there's more demand for your time than there is time. Then it takes real negotiation between manager and assistant to keep some "time for self" in the weekly mix. There's another tension that usually develops: time spent responding to current students, needs, and crises vs. time spent organizing new approaches to improve programs and student experiences.

Enjoy the sense of freedom--for as long as it lasts.

Hm. I think I would find it difficult to let someone else schedule my life.

Although, maybe someone else would be better at it than I am.

i would imagine that an important part of that working out well is you (as owner of the being-scheduled life) remembering to tell your schedulER when you have other things to do & so CAN'T be scheduled...

and i can see that bleeding quickly into feeling like a teenager who has to call home to explain that you're stopping by the store for a soda with billy and that's why you're going to be half an hour late arriving back at the house. which is still the mixed bag of responsibility & surveilance it always was: on the one hand, your mom needed to know you weren't dead, & M needs to know not to schedule a meeting for when you won't be there. on the other, there's a certain loss of liberty involved in knowing that you can't just run off w/billy for that soda without explaining yourself to anyone.

i'm not sure how well i'd handle that.

I'm the type of person that, in general, likes to do my own organization and I definitely don't like to make work for others, but this sounds pretty nice. Right now I'm drowning in my own (dis)organization. I've finally gotten to the point in the past six months or so that I just can't organize and keep up with it all any more. Congrats :)

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on January 22, 2005 12:22 AM.

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