Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Usual Suspects

My school didn't pay moving costs when I moved here, and so far as I know, doesn't even now.  (Other schools in the system do, though.  I guess it's a school decision at some level?)  That means that sometimes new department members ask for moving in help.  Usually, someone in the department is in contact and then puts out a call for help on the department mailing list.  And sure enough, someone is coming into town tomorrow, and there's been a request for help.

I emailed back and said I'd help, and then yesterday got an email to a small group, giving us timing details.  So I know who else has offered to help.

It's pretty predictable, pretty much always the same people who come out to help with these things.

And the same people who offer to do practice interviews with adjuncts who are trying to move on, and so forth.

Now, I can totally understand when someone doesn't want to help people move furniture from a uhaul into an apartment or whatever.  There's a point when your back just isn't up to it.  I get that.

And I know we're all busy during the school year, so helping an adjunct with a practice interview isn't convenient.

I also know that I'm not one of the usual suspects who goes to hear the department music group play.  And I'm sure there are other things I just don't do that other people do.

I'm conflicted between being frustrated by the many people who never show up to help, and being happy that those of us who show up are fun to do stuff with.

And no, it's not that different from who's willing to volunteer to take on extra tasks, committee work, and so on.


  1. I got moving expenses (didn't cover everything, but were pretty standard) I needed receipts in order to be reimbursed. However, I am not up to moving things up and down on 90 degree weather, and my husband is a graphic artist so he can't risk hurting his arms doing heavy lifting. I know not everybody is able to afford it, but I actually hired students (paying $15/hour) to do all the lifting and unloading, and it worked great. I did the same last month when I moved into a new place. Part of the reason why I do this is because I know I would be one of those who would never volunteer, so I don't like to ask for favors that I can't return.

  2. I like the idea of hiring students. My students *always* need money, so it's good for everyone, all around.

  3. I know. I work at a Catholic school, so many volunteered to do it for free, but I refused and told them that by accepting the job they were doing me a favor. They are not professionals and destroyed a bookcase, but I'll gladly take that when I know they are trustable and hard workers. Plus, I get to tell the story of two of them carrying a table to a third floor while arguing whether Ancient Greek or Latin is more sophisticated.

  4. We have the same issue of the same people stepping up to do things, and yes, I'm one of them. I don't generally get frustrated, though. I love my job and my colleagues and I, personally, get a lot out of helping. I often get to know a colleague better, get to know parents or students, or get some valuable face time with someone who can help me in return. I have colleagues who complain about people not doing things, but I think it's wasted energy. And I think if you need to back out or need to take a break, it can force others to step up. I've seen that happen. It doesn't make them regular volunteers, but they will usually step up when asked.

  5. Bardiac, I think this is one of the things you have to file under "be the change that you want to see." I'm guessing that most of your new colleagues who have benefited from the assistance of "the usual suspects" will more than likely become a member thereof.

    And even if they don't, do you really see your generosity as a totally wasted effort? Because I don't. Sometimes, even when you know it's not going to be appreciated or reciprocated, you just have to do what you do in order to preserve your own self-respect.

  6. Since I'm not the one moving, I don't have much say in the hiring of students or not.

    I waver between frustration at the folks who rarely help, and really liking the people who do, and having fun doing stuff with them, even if it's unloading or doing a practice interview with an adjunct. And I do think it's appreciated. Still, some more folks stepping up would be good. In other news, unicorns could fart rainbows!

  7. Anonymous4:17 AM

    You step up because you are cool. The others who step up are cool too. Together, you form a group of cool people. Those who don't step up miss out on this.