Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Moving Experiences II

This is a blogging post that has little relevance to creating a poetic mythology and less to beer reviews. I have taken the decision that I shall post slice of life sections on this blog but, because they are not the main point of the blog in any way shape or form, they shall require a page break.

In the meantime you can search for beer reviews or the poetry by clicking on these lovely links.

This comes after a week's worth of renting away from home in a lovely little holiday cottage that I was lucky enough to get a deal on for the month. It's a little more expensive than a basic room but I cannot overstate the joy of having a self-contained space with my own bathroom, well, shower room, from which to operate.

Some caveats:
If I have taught you please know that you are still very dear to me. I learned so much from my students where I used to work and I continue to benefit from the wisdom that you have imparted to me both deliberate and accidental. I have been inspired by you and challenged by you in equal measure.

If you are a colleague with whom I used to work and to whom I used to unload then know that there is little here pertinent to you, you kept me going and your time and patience with me is well regarded. There will be beers in the future. Home brewed too!

And so, to business...

I have started working at the new place and I am impressed. I may have my ultimate boss in my Department and I may have conflicting loyalties between him, the Faculty Head, the Department and my Line Manager but these things are surprisingly not the issues that they first appear. The students are very different too. They are less sparky and open than I am used to but they remain keen and interested and they are very much more quirky than I am used to. That's not to say that those that I used to teach were not quirky, no, just that the numbers of truly quirky students was smaller than where I am now, at least so far. My colleagues are the usual bunch of different people but, in just a week of actual work, I have achieved more than I managed in two, no three, years at my last place in terms of organisation. The difference a change of place makes I suppose. Also confidence.

When I started looking on the journey that would eventually lead me to where I am now I felt very much like I was running away, like I was generally unsatisfactory and that I had shot my bolt by peaking too soon - that I was on the long slow decline to competency and ridicule. Now that I am here I feel that I run towards this place rather than away from my last. I feel that I have something positive to offer again. And I am offering it. I feel that people listen carefully and hear my meaning rather than assuming my meaning and attaching negative connotations.

Much of that was my own fault, I freely admit, I admitted to my short-comings too easily in an environment and situation that called for secrecy and lies. I was vulnerable in a situation that called for a carapace and boundaries of privacy. I was open when I should have been inscrutable. I was honest when I should have been noncommittal. I was idealistic when cynicism was the order of the day.

That is the largest and most welcome change. The students are not cynical. They are naive, to be sure, but they lack the cynicism that I had come to notice where I worked. Now, rest assured, those students I taught were endlessly fascinating and brilliant individuals - challenging the cynicism was fun and fulfilling. But the environment wore away at that. Now, here, I am in an environment where I can be who I am without fear of ridicule or destruction. I can be me. I can be idealistic. I can be eccentric, scatty, silly, enthusiastic and open. I can be stupid and the students are too. I never had any problems with students being themselves in my classroom, nor do I believe that they did with me. But there were pressures that prevented a full expression of my idealism and that assumed the worst whenever I was the remotest bit unclear. Deliberate misrepresentation, obfustication and misunderstanding dogged some important relationships and it wore me down.

Ultimately they won. I left. They remained. Ultimately I surrendered. And, in surrender, I found something better and unexpectedly wonderful.

So thank you all those people that refused to hear me and filled in my words, all those people that denigrated my contributions, doubted my intentions, undermined my confidence and were determined to show my failings when I was keenly aware of what you spotted and more. Thank you. Without you I would have toiled on out of a feeling of loyalty and safety rather than excitement. I would have squirreled myself away in the dark, become a corporate machine slowly growing old. Instead I am free. Thank you, you know who you are (and, conversely those who are not thus tarred know who they are too).

I have some final words for those people:

In your FACE!

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