Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Smoke behind the eyes

Dark Smoke Behind the Eyes

My sister sent me an email recently - it was long. I loved it. These days I think a lot about communication. There are probably a number of reasons why that is; lets explore a few.

I’m in the middle of taking over an administrative position of a HORRIBLE communicator. This has led to a number of frustrating problems: including the retesting of a few sets of students. The need to redo an entire classes worth of presentations that were already done, because they were not video-taped... a necessary step for this school. Add on top of that the pointless “training” steps that the person takes.

Anyone who was educated in a western system: what things do you NOT do when giving a powerpoint presentation? Top of the list should be: dont read the dadburned slide.

Well - painfully close in the ridiculousness category is showing me files and folders on a computer and reading me their names. Theres three of them... I can see. And waving the mouse around in a non-trackable fashion is nothing but irritating...

Dad says, “Learn to flex.” Appreciate the solidarity, but what the heck am I supposed to flex on. That sounds like tolerate stupidity at every turn.

Now lets back up from this problem and be a little be more rational and cold blooded about this affair for a moment.

I know administrating is about coordinating people and sorting out the communication issues. I think I can handle that. I know that taking over the position of a crappy admin is unpleasant, and that it really just gets better from there in many ways.

I just finished “The Shack” again. I learn something new each time. The two most prominent themes for me this time through were “trust” and “forgiveness”. Not too worried about the forgiveness thing right now - no super vendettas running around for me. Trust... I can trust if I feel like I’m on the right track, but thats a real question.

K Debriefing time.

I’ve completed 1.5 weeks of this job. Thats hardly anything.

I have the support of the school owner (a sort of business person that is educationally inclined, with 3 ‘separate’ programs under their possession), the support of the owners old friend/ backdoor eyes and ears on the school - whom most despise.

Lets take a case study on this person. There is a herd of folk who have quit their jobs because of this person. There are people who have left the administrative position because of this person. There are also people who have turned down the added pay and experience of the job I took - why? because of this backdoor - old friend.

This backdoor friend has an odd status. They dont necessarily have a job description, but they seem to have they’re hands in everything from student management to scheduling.
Ok - blow the identity concealment. This aged madam is known as Ms. Ma. Sometimes as HeMa meaning ‘river horse’ or hippopotamus (though not in her presence...)

Myself and the old director had class times exchanged last week at the suggestion of Ms. Ma - and the students were a little confused by this so I explained the situation. One of my students made a sour face and said, ahhh ms. Ma is the boss. Seemingly not so content with the fact.

I am one of three picked up by the company driver - ms. Ma being another, as well as another wonderful and energetic Chinese teacher.

Ma asked me how everything was going with the transition and I reassured her that, even though it was busy, I am staunch and capable. She then leaned in and smiled while lowering her voice to tell me in confidence, “I believe in your ability.” It made me smile. Who would have thought that my source of solidarity would come from one of the most despised people in the organization.

She is an interesting bird, and once you understand her a little more - she is none too bad. You do however need to be careful. Everyone has they’re own “rules of engagement” this one’s are just a little more precarious ^_^


OK so im tired. And self medicating. Evidently im not a great doctor or psychologist because sugar, booze and movies dont seem to be working.

The real question... am I in the right place? I have signed no contracts as of yet. The current contract that I am on is for 4 months longer ~ and I can certainly do this job until then.

My question for me... do I want to do this job for another year after? Its FAR too early to answer that question - which annoys me.

There is plenty of room for me to bow out after my four months.

Do I want to? I dont know? Should I? I dont know. Should I not? im not really ready to entertain anyone else’s perceptions of what I should do... so thats kind of a rhetorical question.

I got paid today. Another stack of money that I dont know what to do with.

So I have a riddle. What burns bridges and also holes in pockets? ^_^ A large stack of large red Mao encrusted bills.

You know... I have nothing I really find worth buying right now. So the money really just adds to the issue. I have more than enough money to either go somewhere else in China and work, or vacation around, or do a stint of schooling, or.... Etcetera.


I have the capacity to play this political game well. To do this job and not burn any sort of bridges along the way.

But right now in my frustrated stated, burning bridges sounds like the most fun.

Its kind of like in Batman: the Dark Knight when Alfred explains the Joker,

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.” I guess thats what it feels like at the moment.

A complete change of style and direction.

We’ll see wont we.

Don’t worry. I wont do anything rash... maybe.

1 comment:

  1. Your reference to Batman just reminded me of the bit in Batman Begins, when Bruce's mansion burns down. Headline: "Drunken Billionaire Burns Down Home." Just don't combine the booze with the burning bridges, eh?

    I hope you figure out what to do with this--maybe the next few months will help. Try knitting, that sometimes helps clear my mind. Sometimes it just turns into me wanting to hurl my knitting through the window, though.