By chance, one of my cousins and I have ended up living in the same general area, although we have no other relatives (other than our spouses and kids) within about a million miles. Her husband and I work at the same university.
He has a low-level tech job, and he and I have never intersected in our professional lives. By "low-level", I mean the kind of job that you can get without a college degree. His lack of a degree limits his career options, but he seems to be valued in his job and is increasingly being given more responsibility.
I don't see my cousin and her family very much (according to our mothers, who are sisters), but when I do see my cousin-in-law, it's always interesting talking to him. In our daily working lives, we experience very different sides of the same university.
He frequently encounters administrators who talk about how great [something] is, and then he (infrequently) talks to professors like us and hears The Other Side. For [something], you can imagine a wide range of academic topics, from Big Sports to the latest/greatest 'improvement' to the accounting system. To his credit (says me), he is skeptical when he hears administrators talking about how great [something] is. Our professorial complaints about life in the trenches dealing with the consequences of [something] seem to confirm his cynicism.
I like knowing that someone like him is in the system somewhere. When he sees something wrong or stupid or inefficient about the system, he fixes it if he can. Of course he can't fix the big things and fire the administrators who are big supporters of [something], but he can make some parts of the system work more efficiently.
My cousin-in-law and I inhabit very different parts of the university, but in some ways, the world of the administrators (whom we mock when we get together) is even more distant from our respective planets, at least in terms of views of priorities and functioning of the university. Why would that be?
9 months ago