Today is my research day. It’s 10:37 and I’ve been doing my paid work for the last three hours. No research yet!
The reason is because I have three weeks leave (sweet freedom) at the end of today and all the things I didn’t get done that I needed to get done are getting done this morning instead of research. That’s okay. I have three weeks for driving and thinking about research so this should work out.
What is interesting is when I left yesterday not one, but five people said “don’t think about us at all while you’re gone”. It’s interesting because that’s never happened to me in a workplace before. Admittedly I’ve not had a holiday exceeding one week since 2002, so maybe this is what people say. Or maybe, it’s because I became frazzled this week. Everything started to get to me and I became awful to work with. (I know I did!) So maybe they are saying “please have a nice break away from everything that makes you frazzled and return inspired and rejuvenated ready for more”. I’d like to think that’s what they’re saying because I really love working with these incredible people.
An example of how amazing these people are happened yesterday, my last day in the office. People came together in a room and shared who they were and how we can all work together for a better outcome. This group wasn’t told to come together. It’s not a structured event. It started with people saying “we should share what we’re saying with others” so they did. We now have marketing and teaching and learning coming together towards a common goal. We’re still shaping that goal, but it’s coming. We’re doing it without management saying we should. We’re doing it without a designated leader (although the ‘facilitator’ yesterday was great). We’re doing because we all know it will work best for us all and for students. I got so excited I actually bounced up and down in my chair when I was talking……yes, that happened…..
So, while I am frazzled and have never looked forward to freedom more than I do today, I am in awe of the people coming together. I am in awe that people want to try despite the constant obstacles and road blocks. I am in awe that in one hour we built a nice bridge we all want to cross. More importantly, I’m in awe that it all started with two people thinking they should share with others. Change will not happen through decree or policy or rules, it will happen through people sharing. Thank you Lauren and Suzette for sharing.
Talking to an academic this week he remarked it’s been a while since I blogged. I thought that was weird until I realised I’d been blogging on my PhD site and not this one. Funny how my brain just assumed I’d blogged therefore I’d shared, but I’d been sharing in a different place. So I’ve been cheating on this blog with another. Sorry about that.
It’s been a busy time with my new job. In fact I now have three new jobs. Turns out that the senior project officer role has sufficient cross over with other positions it means I can do three jobs in the time I have for one. Needless to say – interesting times.
What does amaze me, as always, is the people I work with. They are amazing. The willingness to go above and beyond, the generosity to share ideas and debate concepts to find the best solution, the desire to come together as a team to identify goals and ways to work towards them, and then faculty members who are keen to be supported in new ways even if it does encroach on their already precious time. Seriously incredible and inspiring place to work.
There are some down sides. The first is still the lack of operational technology. I think I’ve thrashed this horse past death so I’m not going into it again here, I’m just going to say – we can’t utilise more technology in the learning space without having technology that works. Simple enough I think and yet epic fail after epic fail. Sigh……
The other aspect is how a few people in the workplace can have a massive impact, and not in a useful way. The only way I will succeed in any three of the jobs I have is through open, transparent service delivery. As such I share information constantly, seek input into all aspects of my work, liaise with central staff and academics and regularly check with senior management I’m still on the right path. I’m finding some resistance in some quarters to this approach of work. While it wouldn’t normally be an issue their actions are now impacting on the goodwill I’m trying to establish. I assume they don’t share the service delivery focus management is seeking and/or have a focus on something else – perhaps their next promotion or perhaps a sideline project they prefer, I”m not sure and perhaps I should ask. This is leading to an outcome where our service delivery team has the appearance to outside of being inconsistent. This is not a good outcome for the University.
If we can’t come together on a shared direction in relation to how we support academics and faculties, we aren’t actually working in the way our customers expect. Academics are the lifeblood of the University. They service the students who decide whether to stay or go, whether to recommend us as a place of study, they can vote with their feet. The front line for these students are the academics. In central, our job is to support these academics to do the best they can to attract and retain students so we can all continue to get paid. For my way of thinking, this is an easy equation. Why is it so hard to achieve?