I am off to a very odd morning. It’s like I live in opposite land and everything that happens is the exact opposite of what one would wish.
First this this morning when I came into the office I was verbally accosted by one of my coworkers. She was irritated that her office has computers in it. We provided her office (it’s set up for four people but only two use it currently) with computers but when she and the other visiting scholar arrived they dismantled them and shoved them onto one desk. So she seems to be upset that now her office looks like a storage space for older model computers. In our defense, we are public institution so we don’t have the funds to buy new computers all the time. Yes, we have some computers that are older than three years old. We even have CRT monitors. But we think it’s nice to provide a computer for any of our visitors. It’s their fault the room looks crappy because they dismantled the computers and shoved them aside. She then proceeded to tell me that she’s embarrassed of the way her office looks and doesn’t want students to see it like that, that it makes her angry and in a bad mood when she’s at work, and like we don’t make her feel welcome in the department.
I have never felt so insulted in my professional life. The very last thing I would think anyone would accuse me or my department of is being “unwelcoming.” I seethed with anger and politely said that if she took such issue she should bring it up with my supervisor. I then told her I was sorry she didn’t feel welcome. I walked away calmly and just reeled. I don’t want to make broad stroke statements
No one else is here today except one other professor so I talked to her about the situation. She was flabbergasted. She listened to me and let me vent. We talked about the rampant sense of entitlement in academia–with graduate students especially. Although I see it as a pattern that only gets worse when they are full fledged professors. My friends and I call it the Poof Effect. They ask/announce/demand something to happen and “poof” it gets done, almost always because a staff person does it for them…
Anyway, back to the point…it’s not a nice way to start the day with complaints. My lesson as of late has been to not be filled with rage, but to instead be amused when these types of situations arise. Some people go through life thinking that others should bend to their will, thinking that they are so special and simple manners are beneath them. But the joke, in the end, is on them. They alone live in bizzaro world and I live in a normal, if somewhat ideal world, where honey catches more flies than vinegar.
Part deux occured while trying to type this post… I had another run it with this visiting scholar and she somewhat apologized. She said she was sorry for taking out her frustration on me, but then we somehow got back into the disagreement and it was entirely awkward. We may have had the same discussion, but I learned new lesson. Petty disagreements are feuled by insecurity. I will probably never reslove this woman’s issues because her angst is not really about the extra computers in her office. She is insecure because she doesn’t know what she is doing and feels powerless.
Now, if I was paid for my skills in psychoanalysis then I’d make a fortune. But since I don’t, I guess I’ll have to live off the feeling of being smugly confident in who I am and what I do.