May 2, 2008

I'm "forgile," thanks for asking!*

At least that's how it might be spelled. A parent on the phone told my colleague to pass along the parents' thanks to me for being "forgile" with their student. We think it's a good thing....

* a la Big Gay Al from Southpark

April 24, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: Entry Redux

I confess, I'm a slacker. I don't have anything new for DoT. However, since I just saw on the interwebs/tubes/thingy that today is "Take Your Child to Work" Day, I thought it might be appropriate to refer back to this post: "Take your dog-ter to work."

I still work at the same place, and still have this wonderful option. Just yesterday, my boss brought her dog, Sophie, to work. After their lunchtime walk, she told me about all of the smiles Sophie elicited. Similarly, I just gave a blogger soliciting random advice to go to a dogpark or someplace where dogs are playing and happy whenever you feel depressed. I've also noticed the smiles dogs bring to people's faces, particularly when I walk them here on the U campus. Along the same lines, Sophie and my boss participated in a therapy-dog event at the Law School last spring--they brought dogs in for the law students who were studying hard for finals.

And, once more, don't forget about the contest I'm running for people sponsoring me in the Walk for Animals and MS 30/60 Bike Tour.

November 29, 2007

Dogs on Thursday 11-29-07

I missed Thanksgiving DoT. Today is going to kick my butt at work, so I'm just going to give a few pix here without much commentary.

One of the nice things about my building is that most people don't really care what goes on here, so dogs are not unusual in the offices. Here are a couple visitors just from this week.

First up is Lilo, a 3-4 month old Yorkie who lives with a woman who works for the Army (she is actually not military, though her husband is). I'm not a small dog fan, but this one is pretty darn cute. She reminds me of an ewok from Star Wars.

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Then we have Sophie, my boss's dog, just after a hard hour's work on a couch from a therapy workshop for the law school students.

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I'm thinking about bringing my kids in on Friday.

November 28, 2007

Campus Guardians

I recently wandered around to some of the buildings near mine over the lunch hour. We have a few gargoyles, chimeras, and other interesting folks/critters adorning some of the buildings around campus.

So this evening when I opened my browser (my home page is the U of M home page), I found it rather amusing that the gargoyles were also featured there. Here is the text:

"Eye in the sky
One of four gargoyles--or chimeras--watches over the Twin Cities campus from the roof of Folwell Hall. The eight-foot-tall creatures adorned Folwell when the building first opened in 1907, then disappeared a few years later. The U had replicas made from looking at historical photos. This month marks the end of an 18-month restoration project on the exterior of Folwell, the grande dame of campus buildings. The U's 2008 Capital Request seeks funds for interior upgrades."

The picture won't be there long, because the webpage is a "dynamic Web 2.0 (?)" webpage that cycles information so that visitors to the site won't get bored. Or something. But if you get there in the next day or two, you'll probably see the gargoyle picture they chose.

This is my picture, more or less of the same critter:


Here is a series of these gargoyles on Folwell Hall (as always, click the pictures for larger images). I think they look more like dragons, myself. There are four of them, two on each long side of the building:

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(It's pretty bad when the light starts failing at the end of a noon-ish lunch hour....)

Then there are the faces around the building. When you look through these pictures, it should come as no surprise that this building houses the language departments, the cultural studies departments, the ancient and near eastern religions departments, etc.:

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More later...I haven't finished Folwell Hall, let alone shown my favorite campus gargoyle....

November 9, 2007

Reminder of where I work

I believe I've mentioned here before that I work in the Armory building on campus. My office is the only non-military office in the building, and we share a floor with the Army ROTC (Air Force is downstairs and Navy and Marines are upstairs).

Just in case we were to forget ourselves, here is what is currently in our shared lobby (it's a type of walk-through that we share with I-don't-know-which division):


And in case you can't see it well enough....


September 12, 2007

No pix cause I had to get rid of the evidence

Good morning to me!

I had a double-bagged paper grocery bag in my office. I had brought in two fridge packs of soda, and needed the extra strength. Because I'm essentially lazy, and didn't really know what to do with them, I just left the bags in the corner of my office.

This morning, I heard rustling. In my experience, rustling = mousies. Not an uncommon occurrence in my office (I just saw one scurrying across the floor the other morning). I can deal with mousies. I didn't really bother to sneak up on the bags, figuring they couldn't see, and even if they did get spooked and run, no biggie.

I looked in the bag, and saw nothing, but still heard rustling. So I gently pried the two bags apart. No mousie. Big (2 inch) cockroach. Ick. I really do not do well with anything with more than six legs (starfish, maybe, but even they are a little suspect). And I just cannot squish bugs other than mosquitoes. Even when they are in a bag.

So, I roll down the top of the bag, and stuff the whole thing into one of the big trashcans in the hall (read: NOT IN MY OFFICE!) and come back into my room. I'm working away, still a little squeamish, when I hear more rustling. From the other bag, the one I didn't see anything in originally.

There's another one. This one is slightly smaller, maybe 1 3/4 inches. But it's already half-way up the side of the bag. I shake it down to the bottom, and repeat the same drill as for the first one. I'm getting squeamish again even as I type this.

There are two bags of cockroach sitting in the trashcan in the hallway. At the moment, they shouldn't be going anywhere. But at least when they're rustling in the bags, I know where they are. Now they could be anywhere. I always claimed I sit with my legs crossed on my chair (yoga style) because my legs are too short for these chairs. Now, I'm not sure that it just isn't a darned good idea.

September 6, 2007

Placing the Blame

Today's "Cornered" applies oh so well to much of my daily interaction...


August 28, 2007



Tonight is the a Welcome reception for our students. This kitteh seems to have the right attitude...

August 23, 2007

Why I can't work today

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(Click for a larger image)

"University web applications and People Soft are currently unavailable due to technical difficulties for an undetermined length of time. Though unable to access any student records, One Stop counselors will be available for general assistance by e-mail, phone, or in person. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you."

University web applications (class schedule, student records, etc.) and People Soft (registration, admission processes, etc.) are 95% of our jobs right now. Is 5% really worth staying here for the day? :-)

June 7, 2007

When did America become so rude?

I know that this is nothing new, and that the downward cycle in common decency and civility has been occurring for a number of years, but it just hasn't affected me as personally as it does in my current position. Both parents and students have been uttering apalling things to my staff, and to me, when they get to me. On Tuesday, following Monday night's orientation, we received a very patronizing, condescending email from a parent who didn't like the orientation; one of his complaints was that we were being patronizing and condescending to the "capable young adults" in the audience. The same day we received phone calls from parents who had been at orientation the previous night asking questions about the material we covered in orientation and that is covered in the student handbook, which the emailer complained about our referencing too much (because the students "already want[ed] to" read it cover to cover). We also received a phone call from a parent who said right up front that neither he nor his student was going to read the handbook so could we please just give him a copy of the powerpoint we used.

Last night's orientation was even better. Due to certain regrettable (and irrational) policies of a certain building on campus, we were not allowed to be told that a high school graduation was going to be happening at said building; one of the largest metro area high schools, no less. Whenever this happens, we always have angry parents. While I truly understand the frustration of not having parking, perhaps running late, etc., do they really need to express those frustrations to us in such colorful language? One dad, who was there in plenty of time, by the way, kept stomping in and out of the room muttering about how horrible "this is" and how "bad" everything was, and how "sick [he] is with this [my program] bu&&*%$t."

Then there's the father who asked for a student calendar. This is the first year we've been able to provide these planners to new students; I'm really proud of that fact, and I think it's not only a great way to welcome students to campus as well as help teach them time management skills. This parent (who kept butting in front of other people in line) refused to accept that we had planners just for the students; "but I'm faculty here, and I never got one." I was actually a student here (granted, a graduate student, but student nonetheless) and I never got one either. They're available through the bookstore for $6. We just don't have enough to provide to students and their parents.

The same dad was also demanding preferential treatment in appointment scheduling. I misspoke and said we had an appointment time (generically) available starting at 5:15, when it actually starts at 5:00. Said parent kept demanding that we go back to the office and reserve the 5:15 appointment for them; if not last night, then this morning when we got in. He was continually corrected and just refused to hear the correct time. He came in this morning to schedule in person, and the first question he asked was if he could have one of the "extra" planners.

What makes it okay for parents to behave this way? At what point is it permissible for us to stop being nice and actually call them on their behavior? With Mr. "I'm sick of this ... b------t," I really didn't even want to say anything to him because he was just in the right foul mood to start something. And he's not necessarily the only one. We had one parent of a denied student threaten to come straighten us out. My staff has been told that they don't know how to do their own jobs. What makes this last one the most fun, is the problem is usually something relating to a different office. Last night one of my staff members was told by a student that "these people are so stupid" because of a typographic error in her name (taken from her application which had the same error in her own writing)--just so happens that this staff member is the one who had typed the list.

I am just appalled by people's behavior. I don't know if we see more of it because of the nature of our program, but it has gone beyond acceptable.

April 25, 2007

Would it be wrong... use this "Stone Soup" comic in orientation or on our website?


The students we see are so frequently here to get out of school more quickly. Why do you want to begin working sooner? You have the rest of your life to spend in a job.

As far as the case for not working goes, "Dilbert" seems to make the best argument yet:


March 29, 2007

Tips for getting admitted to competitive college programs

DO NOT remind your adviser how old s/he is.

Okay, this statement is truly meant more in jest than reality, but jeez o pete, already. Yes, I do work with high school students who might be writing their admission essays as sophomores. I get it. But here are the examples, then see for yourself of what I speak (moderately paraphrased, because I can't necessarily remember the exact statement):

1. I was 11 years old when the events of September 11, 2001, happened.

I was older than 11. By several years. And several college degrees.

2. I never really liked reading until Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in mid-1997.

Judging by birthday, said writer was 7. I was definitely older than 7. Maybe not as old as I was in 2001, but I was definitely older than 7. Again by several years, and again by a few college degrees.


November 9, 2006

The Office Game -- The Annotated Edition

Stolen shamelessly from CrazyAuntPurl. I've added some of my own commentary in italics.

The Office Game

Spice up your office with The Office Game -- pick two or three colleagues and agree to play The Office Game which awards points as follows:


Run one lap around the office at top speed. Walk sideways to the photocopier.

Find the vacuum and start vacuuming around your desk. has been known to happen in the office (though not by me), especially when the mice are plentiful

When they're not looking, pour most of someone's fresh cup of coffee into your mug leaving them with an inch of brew.

Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.

Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say "Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye."

To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace. isn't this how all advisers end their appointments?

While riding an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open. I've been on some elevators where I'd be out of breath if I did this. Nonetheless, our building doesn't have an elevator, so no can do. :-(


Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask "Did you get all that, I don't want to have to repeat it." - Double points if you do this to a manager. this is pretty similar to the conversations S and I frequently have at home.

Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle. better yet, drink directly from the jug that you are hoisting onto the water cooler because, yet again, you are the one who is left with no water unless you change it yourself. Doesn't matter that you're so short you practically have to lift the 5 gallon jug over your head to attach it to the cooler.

Shout random numbers while someone is counting. again, a fairly regular occurrence at home; more fun if you're totalling scores in dominoes, and the person counting is already winning


At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).

Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times. doesn't work as well when there are around 15 people working in the same space with only one light switch. Sure, you can confuse them for a few minutes, but then they start to gang up on you.

For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as 'Bob'.

Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do number two".

After every sentence, say 'mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in, "the report's on your desk, mon". Keep this up for one hour.

While an office mate is out, move their chair into the elevator. again, no elevator, but this would be really, really funny.

In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, all of you just shut up!" you mean I've been earning points all along? *slaps forehead* "Why didn't you guys tell me that?"

In a colleague's diary, write in 10 am: "See how I look in tights". better yet, in their online calendar and add an alarm to it

Carry your laptop over to your colleague and ask "You wanna trade?" wish I had a laptop I could trade with others; OIS seems to think they should keep the laptops

Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now" common at home, not uncommon at work. Usually it's just the pigeons in the attic, though...

Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, "I can't talk about it" wouldn't raise an eyebrow where I work...(for that one person who reads my blog who doesn't know where I work, my office is the only non-military office in my building...)

Speak with an accent (French, German, Porky Pig, etc.) during a very important conference call. like I receive very important conference calls

Tuck one pant leg into your sock and when queried, answer, "not now" and walk away. when queried about the pant leg? or queried about anything?

Feel free to make up your own rules to accompany these ones. :-)

July 6, 2006

And that is part of the problem


Too many parents these days are obsessed with their children. It may be just some of the parents that I see on a daily basis, but I sense that it's happening more and more in other parts of life as well. In order to raise their children, parents do not need to lose themselves; it is possible to be a parent and still be an individual. Many parents seem to be either trying to live through their kids or to protect them to the extent that "raising a child" equates to "protecting and doing everything" for said child.

June 21, 2006

My Question Exactly


Change the setting from a playground to a university office for high school students taking college courses, and you have one of the questions we ask daily.

June 8, 2006

Late May Conference

So every year since I started as an adviser I've been attending the National Academic Advisers (NACADA) Regional conferences. Region 6 is kind of a mixed bag; we're North/Central, but Wisconsin gets to be part of the Great Lakes region.

Anyway, the first year I went, I presented with a then-colleague and we won best in region for our presentation. We didn't know that was even a possibility, which made winning all that much sweeter. The rewards were automatic admission to the National conference + a scholarship for the registration fee.

The second year, Jon and I presented the same material as part of a pre-conference workshop, which are not eligible for best of region awards.

The third year, I wasn't planning to present anything at all, but ended up filling a spot for someone in my office who took another job. Not my presentation at all, and it didn't win.

This year, in Iowa City, a former colleague from my previous job and I presented, and we won best of region. My second time. So now we get to go to Indianapolis for the National conference in October. Just a little horn tootin'. :-)

March 1, 2006

Morning Visitors


TWO of them!!! Ick ick ick ick ick.

And I was alone in the office. Fortunately we have great facilities people here, and one of them was able to, um, assist me with this little problem. She had a broom.

June 26, 2005

More Office Humor

Because my current (soon to be former!!) office is in a basement, I always find window humor amusing:


June 22, 2005

Dreaming of work

Am I still alive? Yes, barely. June is our busiest month here in the office, as we orientate the mass of the incoming freshman class. And my office tends to be the busiest, as health science interest is sky-rocketing (I had one student tell me that s/he wanted to go to med school because s/he wanted a career that made a lot of money....once in med school, s/he planned to specialize in plastic surgery). My poor mother, who depends upon things like my blog to know that I'm still alive, has been frantically calling area hospitals to make sure I haven't suffered any major trauma.

Anyway, so I dreamt about work last night. Not my current job, but my new job. Oh, did I say that out loud? Yes, I have at long last landed a new position here at the U. It's a huge raise* and a promotion. I'll be working in the same college as the Brain** as Associate Program Director for PSEO (post-secondary education opportunity). These are among the best and brightest of high school students who are able to take classes at the U for college credit, an opportunity I never had.

* (over $10,000 more than my current salary, and still over $7,000 more than the raise I just got here---and you know what? the position requirements were exactly! the same!!)

** (Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight? Brain: Same thing we do every night...try to take over the world!)

May 6, 2005

bad day

Others have blogged about the dangers of blogging about work, but some of us only learn a few things from their mistakes: change the names and scenarios into something humorous. Maybe.

So. Things I cannot say to evil person who spewed vitriol at me for 10 whole minutes in a row yesterday, whom I had to call back yesterday because the person who gets paid to do these things thinks I "can do it," and whom I have to call back again today:

1. "Curses. You've stumbled on our plan. We really are out to get your precious baby (henceforth called PB)."

2. "Did you ever stop to think that your precious baby might be partly responsible and that there might be more to the situation PB might have told you?"

3. "I'm sorry, but I don't get paid enough to talk to you."

4. "Yes, I do have the power to go back in time and change to past. But I'm not going to. So pbbbt!"

5. "Yes, I have been personally responsible for everything bad that has ever happened PB's entire life. It doesn't matter that I haven't ever heard of PB before two days ago when you spewed vitriol at my colleague."

6. "Do you think I really care?"

7. "Since I am supposed to know everything about every single one of the 50,000 people we have here, let me take 30 seconds to access information about just PB."

8. "Yes, every single office at this place talks to every other office on a daily basis. We also stay here overnight (you didn't know this is my home address?) to go through every single file about every single other PB to make sure nothing bad will ever happen to them. We deliberately skipped your PB's file, though. See statement 1."

Sorry to be so vague folks, but there's FERPA for you.

April 15, 2005

Allergic to work

I believe I actually posted something similar about the same time last semester. I will admit that this semester, while busy and hectic, has not had nearly the same stress level as last fall, but there have been times when it's been close.

So this is how things are going around here:


March 25, 2005

Performance Review


I had my performance review this week. I've never heard my boss even give polite criticism to anyone before, let alone say anything negative in a performance review. This year, though, has actually been exceptional, I think. We've been through a lot, besides being short-staffed the entire year. Because one of the other more senior advisers is on leave this semester, my boss and I are the only two people who have been here for more than one semester, and numerous other things were going on. He pretty much told me that he couldn't have done it without me, and that he considers me his right hand. That's always nice to hear, but when he doesn't have any control over salary/promotion/other good things that happen at work, it can still feel a little frustrating.

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And my fellow educators will also sympathize with my frustration with students who have been trained to only ask, "will that be on the exam?" when confronted with information and knowledge. And to have that question be the public goal of education is just awful.


While I don't hate my job, and actually enjoy it most of the time, I do sometimes feel like I need a little something to protect my soul.

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Especially when I begin to dread Mondays like I dread returning from a vacation.

January 18, 2005

When I grow up, I want to be a .....


I'm getting rather bored with my current job, but I'm nervous about looking for jobs outside of academia. I've heard about glass ceilings and cut-throat employment practices, etc.

I've started my independent study general bio class, though, so maybe if I can stick it out here for long enough, I'll have the credits to transfer to someplace like Argosy University and pursue vet tech training. Not so much that I want a job as a vet tech, but I want to know the information.

My current position doesn't so much have a glass ceiling as not very many opportunities to move up. Advisers can be Assistant, Associate, or Senior, but the job is essentially the same. In June 2006 I should be qualified for promotion to Associate (according to the rules of my current position), but the job is essentially the same.

From adviser, it's possible to move into a Community Coordinator position, if one is vacant, that is. The last coordinator vacancy was in summer 2002, and was filled just before I started working here. (I did apply for the position when the job was posted, but I now know why I was never even interviewed.)

From coordinator, moving up becomes even more difficult. The coordinators report to the Director of Advising, who reports to the Assistant Dean of Student Services. That's not very much of a promotional chain, and it's not even a promotional chain that I think I want to pursue.

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The other problem I have is that I'm over-educated, and therefore, over-qualified, for most positions outside of academia. People see Ph.D. on my transcript, and wonder why I'm not teaching. (I'll tell you you have a few hours?)

Part of the problem is the salary level. Everyone at the U seems to know that CLA pays its advisers the lowest rates. At one of the interviews I had last fall, the manager told me the salary I could expect. He started out apologetically, saying that he knows it's low, but .... oh yeah, you work in CLA. You know about low salaries.

I'm also tired of having the same conversation with every student I see. a) Why do you want a bachelor of science degree? Because I'm going to med school. b) Why do you want to be a chemistry major? Because I'm going to pharmacy school. c) Why do you want to be a science major? Because I want a job. While I continually try to reinforce the ideas (read, bulls--t [?]) I was told about the qualities of a good, well-rounded, liberal arts education, and that no one is really paying attention to what type of degree someone has, and that it's possible to get a good job with a BA in history, it becomes more difficult when I'm among the lowest paid positions (for the requirements of my job class) in the college that pays the lowest.

Ah, but orientation calls. Time to welcome a new round of students to CLA, students who applied here because they couldn't immediately get into the College of Biological Sciences or the Institute of Technology, and who will be transferring to those colleges as soon as possible.

October 20, 2004

Rejection makes me sick

So I find out I didn't get the job on Tuesday, and by Thursday I've come down with the worst cold I've had in probably 3 or more years. I have no voice today--good thing I don't have to actually talk for my job. ;-P

And, a friend a work apparently hatched his own chicken. He's not going far, over to the Y near the university as a program director, or something like that. His salary is probably what I would have been offered for my second chicken, and he's leaving the U. That's the worst blow. Not only will I have lost a U colleague, but we will also have to find a replacement for him on one of the boards I'm on, which will not be an easy proposition.

I've always felt that it's much easier being the leaver than the one who is left. Especially when one of the ones being left was so recently scorned....and my fortune cookie yesterday at a Chinese restaraunt said that I'm next in line for a promotion. Well, duh. That's actually the truth, not a fortune...the way my position works is that once I have 3 years in CLASS and 5 years advising in general, I can be promoted to Associate Academic Adviser. One of my office colleagues was just promoted this year; of course I'm next. I'm the only one in the office who's even eligible--in another year or two....

October 12, 2004

So much for the chickens

Well, the second job opportunity was just not to be, either. My only real disappointments in that position are 1) being rejected; 2) no big salary increase; 3) being rejected; 4) no extra flexibility in work hours; and 5) being rejected.

Frankly, I do enjoy my current job, so again, not as disappointed as I might otherwise be. But I can't say I'm overjoyed. I would have enjoyed working with a different set of students, and I would definitely enjoyed having more institutional support for professional development. It looks like I'm going to have to put off taking chemistry until the Fall, because I know I can't get leave time during the week in my current position, whereas I probably could have through this one. But maybe I'll take biology instead.

All I really know is that "I'm a very strong candidate" and "we would love to have you on our staff" and that my written application materials were by far the "best of the pool," but none of that is good enough to actually offer me the position.

Gee, I get bitter in my disappointment, don't I?

September 14, 2004

The first chicken didn't hatch

Capella wants someone with a greater depth and breadth. Oh well. They didn't hire anyone from this round of interviews. I need to call the HR guy back--he wanted to know if I'd be interested in adjuncting, should they need comp instructors (which they will, if they're planning to go the full undergrad route). Not really so interested in on-line teaching. But I will let him know that I'm still interested in the writing center position, if they still don't find anyone.

Have a second interview with CCE on Thursday. First an interview with the director of advising then a "guided conversation" with my would-be peers. I have the study questions in advance...basically the same questions I answered the first time. But it should be fun enough. And it gives me some time not to be in appointments at work. But I shouldn't say things like that... :-)

July 22, 2004

Why people quit: I don't like you!

Apparently a recent Gallup poll has deduced that the number one reason people leave their jobs is bad bosses: No. 1 Reason People Quit Their Jobs
"More than 1 million employees can't be wrong, so bosses take heed of this. A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor."

While this was definitely true for me recently, my dissatisfaction right now is primarily salary-based. I'm in a professional position that requires a Master's degree. I and many others in my position in the college have Ph.Ds, as well as other experience well beyond the minimum required. Yet other people in similar positions around campus earn $8-10,000 more than I do for similar entry-level requirements.

I understand that I am not faculty (whether I should earn a similar salary is a different question alltogether), but I see very little evidence that salary decision-makers understand that I chose student services over a faculty position. I could go on the job market if I want. But I don't want. I feel that my time and energy is much better spent in student services positions.

Bad bosses are certainly quite common. But I'd argue that salary is a very close second....

June 24, 2004

Personal Responsibility

This Non-Sequitur is my work life. I hesitate to go into too much detail here since this is a public forum, but needless to say, many people I meet on a daily basis could use a little assistance in learning to take responsibility. And I'm not just talking about students.

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May 21, 2004

Cubicle Makeover

This Close to Home cartoon from May 21, 2004, really hits home given that I dwell in cubicle-land in the basement. Others of my acquaintance can appreciate the feeling of emerging from our dungeons looking rather like Gollumns as we leave work for the day (enter as a hobbit, leave as Gollum... hmm...). Given the popularity of extreme makeover shows and trading spaces shows, this cartoon particularly hit my funny bone.

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I should confess that we've got a bit of a cubicle makeover going on right now anyway. I brought in one of my serenity fountains (my boss calls me agent serenity, but that's another story), and the philodendrons are working on taking over the office. We're thinking about a jungle atmosphere with vines hanging from the ceilings and jungle bird/critter noises in teh background. Just some thoughts, though.