Co-responding: from You to Me 1

Below our imaginary friend responds to the letter from Me to You.

Man sitting on a bench with his back to the viewer.

Hi, great to hear from you. 

Sorry it’s taken so long to reply. Things and stuff, you know? And I’m not very good at correspondence, or keeping up with people, or, you know, having friends… (is that very male of me?) 

So, I hear on the grapevine that you have a new job? I saw it advertised and immediately thought of you – precisely because of those qualities you mentioned: creative, thoughtful, compassionate, and indeed challenging (in the good way!). It looked so right but wasn’t sure if you’d go for it. Congratulations, of course, and I’m sure you’ll smash it, interpretive dance and all. 

I’m jealous if I’m honest. Yes, there is shit everywhere, but at least you will have new shit, in a new context, with new energy. Here we have been restructured (again), with new admin (again), and I’m frankly exhausted and struggling for motivation. Maybe I shouldn’t care so much, maybe I should just let the incompetence and the politics of the University play out, keep my head down, work away on AD stuff and switch off more. I totally get what you mean about people pretending, especially taking credit for things they didn’t do, puffing themselves up in front of managers, saying the right thing in front of the right person… and generally being a man. 

Is AD a women’s world? I’m not sure, I’d never thought that – or at least I’ve never put it in those terms to myself. I suppose the closest I’ve got to thinking about this is about balance – ‘isn’t it good to have a team that’s balanced, so it helps us connect with lots of staff’. Gender is part of that, but plenty other things besides. I always felt, when we worked together, it was a good balance as you could do the fun, exciting, boundary pushing stuff while I was the boring curriculum design, practical, remember the outcomes guy.  

Sorry to be such a drag! I’m worried about the future, about what I will now have to do. I’m not a ninja either! But don’t go round telling people I’m kind or gentle – it will ruin my look… 

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2 thoughts on “Co-responding: from You to Me 1

  1. Dear You,

    I loved reading your letter, hearing the raw emotions of finding a new place in the world. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been having such a rough ride, both at the coal face but also in the brutual world known as the job market. I wonder whether you are truly seeking a new venture and, following the pandemic and a year of turmoil, are really ready for a new post or just don’t want the status quo to continue?

    Job applications are a minefield, a long and exhausting process of eeking out the most of one’s experiences to fit the overinflated demands of the recruitment teams, informed by HR professionals who sit on the board’s of strategy teams. They demand the world in their specifications, but I’ll let you into a secret, they rarely find it. The Holy Grail doesn’t exist and compromises always have to be made. I wonder what posts you have applied for? Are they ones that reflect your values and amitions or just happen to be what’s out there and you’re going for it because anything is better than the status quo? Be careful my friend, don’t jump from the frying pan into the fire!

    Your point about the Ac Dev world being a female dominated one is interesting, I have little with which to make comparisons, so far I’ve observed it’s pretty female, middle class and white. For all we preach about inclusivitity, creating pedagogical environments that everyone can relate to, I’m not sure we’re practising what we preach? So ironic when we operate on a premis of modelling best practice!

    The past year has taken its toll on us all, maybe now isn’t time to make changes? Maybe it’s time to take stock, re-assess. If I gave you a canvas and asked you to paint on it the things you want to be in your world in 5 years time, what would you paint?

    Happy painting,
    love from me x


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