Thursday, April 07, 2011

Animal, Vegetable, or Ministry?

So, somewhere around 2:17 in the morning during day #2 of Kai's hospital stay last week, after stumbling through the corridors of the children's center trying in vain to find something that could pass for a cup of coffee, a thought struck me. This was somewhat surprising, given how little sleep and food I'd had for the past few days; I could have sworn my head shut down the second the words "we're admitting him to the hospital" passed through the mouth of the attending physician. 

Regardless, a series of telling - and somewhat sad - parallels began to become evident in my addled brain between this place, my former field of employment, and the location where people of my faith choose to worship.
Therefore, instead of "Two Truths and a Lie," let's play "Hospital, Student Affairs, or Church."

And just to keep the game fun, please note this is not a blog post about all three are places where people get healed, where sick people go, where lives are restored, or any other tried-and-true comparison. What got me was that once the specific, descriptive qualifiers are removed…it’s almost impossible to tell one from the other.

Hi, There, and Welcome To Our Campus

"We've got greeters and stations where you can stop, find out where you are, and try to see where you should go next. We even have offices and people who work here with the word 'Campus' in their titles, so we understand the importance of making this feel like a true community.

"And yes, we know the parking sucks, but what can we do? We just keep growing, and parking is a premium."

At the outset of your adventure on this campus, different people keep asking you the same questions over and over again, basically trying to find out what your story is, what your history looks like. You're front-loaded with information about the campus, which is great, but it's too much to absorb all at once, especially since you're in such a heightened emotional state with all these strangers asking personal questions.

That's a Real Job? Did You Actually Go to College For That? 

No one is really quite sure how to describe exactly what other people in other departments or divisions do. In fact, when meeting some of these same people for the first time, you almost get the feeling that HR just gave up and let them fill in the blank on their job title and responsibilities. 

And why is it that it apparently takes two to three people to do the job that one might be able to do, slightly more efficiently? And do you people with overlapping duties or areas ever speak to one another? You know, to better serve the people you were hired to serve? Just asking, because it seems to me a lot of the red tape and redundant questions could be eliminated if we all just played nice together.

This Is What Makes Us As Different As Everyone Else

This campus has its own language. Non-native speakers who come here sometimes need someone to decipher the words, concepts, and phrases we use. We've been using them among ourselves for so long, we forget that outsiders won't be able to "get" what we're saying. We have our own sets of rituals, rules, and ways of doing things that we have done for - oh - forever, so we're vested in them, even if there might be a more efficient or inclusive way of doing them. And what Campus Office A does might follow a different subset of protocols from what Campus Office B does. Yes, yes, yes: one might think that since we're all under the same overall name and serve on the same campus that we should all do things the same way, but we all have our own territories to protect.

"That's not my job" isn't an excuse.


Expect the more intelligently-written blog posts to return next week. Have y'self a great weekend. 


1 comment:

faithfulrealist said...

Oh the zoo that we call life. :)