Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't Be Afraid of the Staff

Perhaps it's all the fantasy novels I read as a teen, when "staff" was a blunt instrument wielded effectively to decimate an opponent. Perhaps it's the association with professors, the other "real adults" in my world. For whatever reason, I am always loathe to intrude upon the world of the administrative staff in my department. I avoid it at all costs.

In fact, I avoid it a bit too much. Several months ago, the teacher training program decided to advertise more, specifically by giving all the lead TAs big posters to put up in the department explaining the program and the workshops. That poster has been sitting, rolled up, in my office, for months. The "ask building manager for permission" task has been cycling through my daily to-do for weeks. It always seems that she's out of her office, or it's lunch time; the real answer is that I just didn't want to. Scary administrative staff, and all that.

In fact, she was incredibly cheerful and helpful, showing me the exact spot I had thought would be natural for the poster, joking around about the merits of sticky tape and tacks (as building manager, she is naturally concerned with whether there is peeling paint or tiny holes in the wall). It seems ridiculous to have put it off this long.

This does not necessarily mean I'll be eager to contact the staff in the future. I've also ready several non-fantasy stories featuring department secretaries as the best source of information, gossip, and the pulse of the department. That's scary in itself.

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