Blogs are good for keeping a track of your life. I’m rubbish at keeping a proper journal thingy and usually end up setting fire to them. The blog is a permanent record. (Unless the internet breaks or I accidentally delete it. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course. Ahem.)
Moving on! I spent yesterday afternoon with my new boss. I like him, not only because he told me that I was the best candidate by far. 😉 Also because we talked for three hours and didn’t notice the time passing at all. He comes across as a bit dour to start off with – not his fault, he’s from Yorkshire. But realising we can’t stand the same people was a real ice breaker.
Weirdly, I won’t be working in the same building as him, he’ll be 20 minutes away from me. Okaaaaaaaay. I’ll be managing a whole building with 600 students coming and going by myself. Well, not entirely by myself, I’ll have an academic by my side. It might be easier being on my own. I’m used to academics, I’ve worked with them for five years. Some can be… tricky (not all, I hasten to add, for my academic friend who sometimes pops by here). This one seems alright, far better than some I know, very enthusiastic, but not necessarily enthusiastic about the same things my line manager is… Make sense? Probably not, if you’re not used to universities. There is always an administrative-academic divide. I’m an administrator working closely with an academic, but also closely with a team of people who won’t actually be anywhere near me.
So, sometimes I’ll go over to them for a few days. If I can find some space for them they could come over to me. These decisions are apparently up to me. I’ve been told that as this is a New Thing, I may get some flack. It’s a new project entirely and lots of university types don’t like new things. Not only academics but admin staff could get pissed off with me stepping on their toes. I’m near the main campus so anyone with an axe to grind can more easily grind it at me rather than my boss. On the other hand, some people might try to hijack it for their own ends. Again, I’m the easy target.
I expected this though, even if I didn’t expect to be physically isolated. I’ve been at this university for ten years, both as a student and staff. I know its little ways. I know what I’m letting myself in for. I know that the biggest thing I will need in this position is confidence. Not just confidence in my abilities or talking to people or managing stuff, but confidence to say NO.
Still, let’s not get bogged down in the things that concern me. When I first start the position they won’t even have finished renovating the building, so I’ll go over to the other campus and properly integrate myself into the current team. That’s an open plan office. Ack. If I have to work with my back to the middle of a room I’ll go mad.
Once I know the team, it’s then up to me to shape this project, to shape my own role. That’s another reason why I need confidence. I’m used to doing what I’m told. My boss likes to micro-manage. She’s not been too bad this year because I’ve been managing another New Thing (although she’s coming down hard on me more now that I’m leaving, complete with cutting remarks designed to keep me in my place). She has very definite ideas about the direction she wants this place to go in. And now it’s up to me to decide direction. This is very exciting. Right now, as a result of the belittling comments coming my way, I can’t wait to get out of here. But of course I need to do ALL THE THINGS before I leave, because it’s just not possible for someone else to do them.
Oops, that turned into a bit of a rant. Anyway, after we got the necessary info out of the way, we just had a good laugh. He’s not dour at all. He says he’s a pessimist by nature but once he’d done the pessimistic stuff he was fine. We shared experiences of a particular prick who pisses both of us off. He introduced me to people I have so far only ever spoken to on the phone. It was great to meet one in particular (another one from Yorkshire) because at this time of the year I am the thorn in his side. He groaned dramatically when I told him we’re about to be working next door to each other. I’ll be able to annoy him in person.
So here was me worried about awkward silences and actually we talked non-stop for three hours. Next stop, spend time with the academic on Friday.