Sunday, May 16, 2010

sometimes they make it so hard

If you've read more this blog more than three times is means at least one of two things:

1. You've been reading this blog for about two years, because I think it's taken me two years to put up the last three posts.

2. You'll know that I'm a fan of Chris at A Free Man.

And Chris has written recently about a lack of blogging time. I'm with you there sister... brother, I mean brother!!!! Not only does my lack of blogging time mean that I don't have time to blog (obviously), but it largely also* means that my life is filled with things that make finding saucy little vignettes about which to blog difficult. In the last six months or so, my life has been filled with:
  • pointlessly stupid curriculum renewal projects
  • large conferences
  • work restructures
  • thesis procrastination
  • writing conference papers (for a different conference to the one in dot point two)
  • going on holiday

Obviously the last dot point, and even the one before were covered in my last post. I could write more about the holiday, I guess, but I'm notoriously crap at talking about my holidays, and hence the alternative blog full of pictures, to allow me to get out of talking to anyone about my holiday - I figure it's over and I need to move on and others don't really care they're just asking to be polite. Let's save both of us, I figure.

One piece of good news is that I will very, very shortly be a part time employee. Yes, one of the very few benefits of working in a tertiary institution is that they feel you not failing your thesis through lack of dedicated time is something they want to be involved in. So very soon Friday will be my research day (note: not my hanging out with friends, going shopping, or sitting in pubs drinking pints day. It is a research day). So hopefully this will make my life a little less stressful, and I will not only have time to blog, but will have time to do things to blog about (Sunday will now be my fun day. Or my sleep until noon day - which ever one takes my fancy on a week by week basis).

But for this post, I need to vent. Part of my job is supervision. This means approving leave, making sure that pays are run correctly, setting broad directions for the team I supervise, and telling them off when they've fucked up. If I did the last bit properly, it would basically be all I do. And as some of the other pressures at work have lessened off, I'm trying to be a better supervisor, so I got each member of my bedraggled team in and had an informal 'chat' with each of them.

One of the things about working where I do is that if I want to do a certain level of work - and I do - supervision is something that is very hard to avoid. And I don't like it, and I'm not very good at it. Why can't everyone just get on with it and do things properly so that I can concentrate on the bits of my job I like. Yes, despite what you may have gleaned from these ramblings, there are bits of my job that I do like.

On the whole these went better than I thought. I was able to tell people that I wasn't happy with their work in a nice, constructive way. Started each conversation with some good things, before I went to the bad (never sure which is the right way to do this, ie to start or finish with the bad). Even my bĂȘte noire took things well, and she was the one I had to tell off in no uncertain terms for stupid, stupid behaviour.

And then the email arrives (on her day off), saying things like 'I know what I did was wrong, but so-and-so is much worse', and 'I haven't complained about it before by Miss X does this, that and the next thing', and 'I have never liked Jo Bloggs'. etc.


sometimes people make things so hard.

Do you supervise this sort of behaviour? If so, I would love advice.

If you own a cross bow, I would love to borrow it.

On the upside, it's getting cold and frosty. This means one thing: polenta. Sometimes when the chips are down, a big bowl of creamy, cheesy cornmeal topped with roasted tomatoes and field mushrooms stuffed with garlic and butter can make everything better again.

*apologies for the split infinitive


Suzer said...

I still check in from time to time, and hadn't even realised it'd been that long between your blog posts!

I suggest short term contracts or 'employee boot camp', you being the drill sargeant, when crap like this happens. Still on a learning curve myself as a 1st time supervisor...

A Free Man said...

I don't own a crossbow, but I do have a number of cricket bats that can do the same job with a much more satisfying crunch.