Saturday, 10 March 2018

#468 Maximum damage

Participation in the strikes varied from lecturer to lecturer, as you'd expect. Before my first one this week, a staff member tried to persuade the speaker to join the action. He apologised politely and explained that the particular topic really was important for the students. All this happened away from the microphone. I could just about hear it from my position in the front row.

It was thirteen years since I'd attended a lecture and now that I had a timetable full of them, they were getting cancelled. When I'd been at uni, I never went to all my lectures. Now it felt like the professors were getting their revenge.

The most sinister example was the lecturer I had on Thursday. Up until then, he'd shown no sign of any allegiance on either side. He just taught the subject. Now he was making an announcement. "I have not participated in the strike until now" he said, speaking slowly and with a trace of pride "but beware, that if I do participate, my intention is to create maximum damage so I will not tell you beforehand".

This was new. Most lecturers didn't have the cheek to talk about the strike to their students other than to let them know a lecture was cancelled. Now one was letting us know that he might cancel a lecture. What was the point of that? Was it an ego trip?

There wasn't a hint of consideration in the man's voice. In fact it was the opposite. He was actually using his class by taunting them to increase their frustration. It was an intelligent move from a strategic point of view but it didn't say much for his character, other than if he ever really got fed up of lecturing, he'd probably make a good terrorist.

His words were of a man with more than the usual axe to grind. Someone who had pursued the value of education to a point where he'd completely lost sight of it. Whatever pain was driving him ran deeper than the basis of his pension and flowed from another source. Something old and hidden. In all likelihood, we'd never find out what it was. The lecturer might not even have known himself.


Fizzfan said...

Yeah, must have sounded very out of place in that sort of environment.
Maybe it was a message to the powers that be rather than the students?
Maybe it was a bit “I haven’t yet, but that’s not because I haven’t got grievances, it’s because I’m being professional, but my patience is wearing very thin and I’m on a tipping point. Just letting you know.......”
Would have been much better to have apologised to his students for any possible future inconvenience caused though.

You’re right about old and hiden reasons......Any amount of time in big organisations usually has an accumulative effect of lots of hidden pains.
Yeah it did sound like an ego trip. I guess it’s hard not to be a little gleeful if you think you’ve got a long standing suppressor or enemy on the ropes.

Dan Copping said...

Yes, it was to the powers that be rather than to the students. I agree, it would have been better to apologise to the students.

Saying nothing would have been inconsiderate but it would be understandable because to say sorry one moment and then go ahead with the strike anyway is a bit flaky (albeit probably the norm in our society).

He went a step further and was intentionally antagonising the students.

Imagine if insurance professionals wanted a defined benefit pension so they told claimants who had been injured in accidents that they might stop making payments to them and in order to try to ensure that the maximum number of claimants complained to the company, they would not just disregard the victims' suffering but would seek to maximise it by not giving any notice before stopping the payments.

To be fair to him, I acknowledge your point about the hidden pains of spending a lot of time in big organisations. There are probably all kinds of factors beyond his control that led to him taking that position.

He might not actually go through with it too, as you say he might just feel like he needs to vent and what better way than to an audience.

Fizzfan said...

I can imagine some other kinds of dubious big business scenarios.....
Like the one where you’re all happily and diligently working away for years n years n years and are casually told to go on 3 hour motivational workshop (no motives or reasons given)
Nothing happens and it’s all quickly forgotten (as is pretty much the case in pretty much all 3 hour ‘workshops’)
Then hey presto 4 months later, you’re called into a room to be told that the behaviours you displayed in the ‘workshop’ haven’t been deemed a suitable ‘fit’ for the future face of the company.
See ya later. Been lovely knowing you (good thing we halved the redundancy packages a year or so ago)
Also, no one seems to know what is a suitable fit for the mysterious future face, and you’re not about to find out either because that would involve being given a chance for a makeover and that’s far too reasonable.
No one also seems to know if the vacancies left by these unattractive saps will need to be refilled?

‘Try it on and see what we can get away with’, I think is the order of the day.

Dan Copping said...

Are you ok? Message me if you want.

Fizzfan said...

Oh, thats really kind......I can see how that might read now....
I was being indignant on behalf of the people that have been made redundant. My team leader for one.
It’s been done in such an underhand way.
I think there may be repercussions. It’s being ‘looked into’.

Who knows who’s next...we’re all feeling skittish.

Dan Copping said...

It's shocking that they are being treated that badly.

I hope there are people there that you trust and can talk to about it.