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Posts Tagged ‘don’t do this to anyone’

Mr. Nevets and I used to joke about what “other duties as assigned” really meant.

Covertly throwing away books under cover of darkness so students wouldn’t be suspicious? – Other duties as assigned.

Repairing the real skull where the jaw had become detached? – Other duties as assigned.

Comforting homesick foreign exchange students? – Other duties as assigned.

Some duties were great. They gave you a purpose to your day. I learned to use a 3D printer and a Dremel rotary tool so far out of my job description that it just had to fall into “other duties as assigned”.

I had “other duties as assigned” pretty well ingrained by the time I became a manager of other workers. So it surprised me (like shock and appall!) when one of the kids would answer the phone and say, “That’s outside of my pay grade, sorry,” and then hang up without even asking if anyone else could answer the question.

90% of our job, or more, was “other duties”.

At  first, I thought it was just the one kid, who was really a glorified work study. I smacked myself in the head and said, “He just doesn’t know any better!” and I pulled him aside and tried to explain how glorious it was to be flexible and learn all of these different tasks required of our jobs. To which he handed me a blank stare on a platter (why he always carried that platter with him I found out the hard way).

But then I found it was an epidemic. Anytime one of the kids (and a couple adult workers) didn’t want to do worthless research to find out whether or not a legume could really grow in your lungs, the answer was never, “Let me find out!” The answer was rarely, “Let me find someone who can answer that for you.” The answer was almost always, “That’s outside of my pay grade.”

Thus I learned to find my kindred co-conspirators at all of my jobs. People who could sort through a hundred boxes of rabbits looking one with the proper paint job. I could be called up to be a hand model, and my best-loved co-conspirators could be called upon to dress their toddler as a wolf for work. I would become a preschool fashion maven and help set up a costume wardrobe, and my best-loved co-conspirators would volunteer to attack a pumpkin with a mallet.

It’s called teamwork.

It’s the moment when “whatcha doin’?” meets with “let me help you!”

That sort of flexibility was always the number one quality I looked for when conducting job interviews of prospective workers. Or, rather than flexibility, maybe I should call it “over-enthusiasm”. It was the same quality that I saw in faculty members who would research a subject unto death to become an expert in their field. It was something I greatly respected.

Not that I was always good at recognizing this during job interviews. But I quickly gravitated to people with this quality during the workday.

And that brings us to today’s profound and out-of-context text, and an apology to the woman I asked for the ultimate show of loyalty. Looking back on it, no one should ever be asked to do this. I am really sorry.

That’s right. I asked someone to smell some fairies.

And we found that all of the fairies had gone bad.

I promise to never ever ask anyone to do this ever again. It was wrong and I apologize.

I promise to never ever ask anyone to do this ever again. It was wrong and I apologize.

night,

dawn

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