Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How Hard Could it Be?

Ah... the land mines of higher education.

One of the worst is the baggage that people carry around, sometimes for decades. People have amazingly long memories of slights - perceived and real - in higher education, and it can turn the simplest undertaking into a logistical (read: political) nightmare akin to setting up a permanent residence in the Marianas Trench.

"Oh, you can't talk to them. They hate us because of the Great Network Meltdown of 2002. You'll have to talk to so-and-so, because they have finally forgiven us for the Epic Email Downtime of 1998 and actually seem to like us. Of course, they have no control over this decision, so you'll really need to suck up to what's-his-face so that they'll talk to so-and-so about helping us."


I've actually been here long enough now that I know most of the political landmines that we have to dance around as if they were fresh, steaming piles of canine doodie on the sidewalk. The saddest thing is that I've been here long enough to have witnessed many of them being deposited firsthand.

And I hate it. I want to yell "Get over yourself! This isn't about you!! It's about doing the university's business, not about how you perceived some imagined slight years ago because of something that probably had nothing to do with you!"

Higher education isn't supposed to be some transdecadal-bruised-ego-grudge-match. It's supposed to be about educating the next generation of the world's leaders. Or something like that anyway.

If you are carrying around something that happened years ago at your institution, I can only beg you to try to let it go. I understand that you hold a grudge to help protect you from being taken advantage of like you were twenty-eleven years ago. But it doesn't help you do your job; it just makes everything harder than it has to be.

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