Hell Week, Oh How I Rue You

Annually, the week before the Fall Semester, is an event that students in higher-education get spared from. It’s called Hell Week. It’s when Faculty return from their vacations, and suddenly realize that even though they’ve known about X and Y Matt's Inverse Pyramid of Importancesince they left in May, that they should probably inform other people about X and Y, so that they have “enough time” to do it for them.

May, June, July, August.

It would’ve been nice to get the request in May.

But people don’t understand this. So every year we brace for it. The onslaught of the last minute requests that need to be honored so that the college can appear like it functions.

There is definitely a group of proactive people who don’t fall into this category. There are those that offer cookies and chocolate as incentives to lessen the impact. But there are a staggering number of belligerent egos who insist that they are the most important thing I could be dealing with right now, and are guffawed when I inform them to the contrary.

The diagram to the right is how I set my priorities. Yes, I set my own priorities. The person on the phone doesn’t set them for me, neither does my chain of command. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. Calling my boss will not get you faster service. Nor will calling his boss. Or his boss. It’s true. With the exception of the President, I have never – nor do I expect to ever – been told to expedite an individual’s problem. Why? Because my chain of command agrees 100% with my priorities, and understand why I do things the way I do them.

A lot of the “things” I’m responsible for impacts large swaths of people – thousands. While I have had faculty who can’t make something bold in MS Word claim that their problem impacts “all students” and therefore should be higher on my list of things to work on, in reality it only impacts the students who would be getting their unboldeded syllabi – Nay, only those who would’ve read it to begin with. This is, shockingly to some, less important to me, than the fact that a computer classroom w/ 30 seats has no network access, or that the e-mail system that serves all of campus needs some TLC.

It has always been shocking to me that anyone, after having received an explanation of Matt’s Inverse Pyramid of Importance, would even pause at my statement of “I’m not going to be looking into your bolding problem immediately”: But alas, here we are, over the hump and almost done with Hell Week 2007.

Your lack of planning is not my crisis.

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3 Responses to Hell Week, Oh How I Rue You

  1. Pingback: Critical vs. Important vs. *Yawn* @ M@Blog

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