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Monday, February 11, 2013

Office Judo

Over the last few days, I've been distracted by work issues. Relatively minor issues, to be sure, which I think is part of the problem.  When a true crisis hits, one can devote all one's energy to the problem at hand, knowing that full concentration is necessary and will likely lead to a solution.  Conversely, petty problems suck one's energy out of all proportion to the underlying difficulty--at least to the person who considers the problem petty.  To someone else, of course, the stakes may be immeasurably higher.  But then the first person--the one being called upon to address the problem--must expend excess energy in not only trying to solve the problem but also in trying to figure out why the problem looms so large in this other person's worldview.

Vague, I know, but I have no desire to complicate matters further by being more specific.  God knows that no one reads this blog and thus it is unlikely to be read by any of the principals involved in my occupational angst, but it would be just my luck. . . .

I was talking to my dean today.  She has also found herself on the hot seat of late, essentially because she did something that, as a dean, she is supposed to do.  Her problems arose because somebody took something the wrong way or felt something should have been handled differently.  (This, incidentally, is basically the same trouble I'm dealing with.)

The basic annoyance stems from a feeling of injustice: I don't mind if people get mad at me for NOT doing my job; I take exceptional umbrage, though, when people get mad at me for DOING my job--particularly when, in one way or another, the people who are getting mad are not, in point of fact, doing their jobs.  Then again, that's probably why they're getting upset in the first place.

Nobody likes to have their own deficiencies pointed out to them.  Of course, when given such criticism, people have a choice: They can listen and acknowledge or they can deny, defend, and attempt to shift blame--middle-management judo, I think that is.  I have no real interest in sparring, but what choice do I have.  If someone tries to flip me, I will do my best not to be flipped.
It does make for rather exhausting days, though.

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