The Student Affairs New Professional

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tryin' to Get Paid-Post 18

Post 18 from Tryin' to Get Paid

Mood: Hot...very flippin hot!
On the radio: National Public Radio

Alas, it it time for another blog. This week, I've spent my time doing miscellaneous office work, and a little light cleaning. I've had files on my desk since the age of time (or rather, since April) that needed to be put away, and I'm starting to see the bottom of my desk. I figure it's time to get a little reacquainted with that piece of furniture.

I've also spent this past week doing a little bit of reflecting, mostly on two developments. I'll break them down for ya...

1. Diversity. I'm on a diversity plan committee, looking at my institution's diversity statement and how it impacts daily business. Our team leader is a big huge fan of appreciative inquiry (a method looking at how plans and projects impact personnel matters, in addition to thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that people bring to work). Since we've started, I've bought into appreciative inquiry, and can't wait to see how the process works out. However, there are others on the team that are less confident than I. And, we've spent most of our time, as Peggy McIntosh stated, unpacking that invisible knapsack. I kinda got into a verbal spat with a colleague who was concerned that the plan would disadvantage White students, and would continue to divide groups of students as "haves" and "have nots". I understood her concerns, but I've learned that those statements come in waves of information, and there was a lot to dissect and reflect (I'll spare the meat of the conversation, but from my training, ther neded to be an encounter regarding White privilege). It goes to show that the need for conversations regarding diversity still need to happen, no matter where you are.

2. Free Time. I like to think I'm an eccentric kind of fellow; one that prefers doing the unorthodox things in life just because they're unorthodox. I told colleagues I was thinking of getting a part-time job at UPS to make extra cash and just because it would be fun, and they thought I was crazy (one wonder out loud why ANYBODY would want two jobs). I spend my free time at the airport watching planes taking off and landing, because it's pretty cool. My colleagues read romance novels and spy thrillers and I have to hear about it at lunch every day, I read Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson and learn about Paul Robeson's involvement in the labor movements from the 1930's to the 1960's, and nobody cares. Some people garden and do lawnwork, I go to dog parks to see if there are any Rottweillers around (I'm a sucker for Rotties). A co-worker raved about her new bike because it's "eco-friendly", and I talk about buying a old Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme because it's big, lots of metal, and rides like a dream (and only gets 13 miles per gallon). One lady went to the Bahamas for her vacation; I went to Moline, Illinois for a weekend (it's all my wallet would take me, but I learned that Bix Lives...whatever that means). Suffice to say, there are some disconnects between what everyone does on their free time, and I get some crap for it. I thought student affairs professionals were open-minded? Apparently not everyone. I even mentioned joining the National Guard for fun, just to get a rise out of folks, and people weren't pleased with my idea (never mind I've been actually thinking about joining the Air Force Reserve as a navigator).

I guess I'm just fussing about my workplace and the personalities that are there. I've found during the year that things weren't easy for the only person of color in the unit, and they're not any easier for the eccentric people. A good colleague of mine reads Homer and Shakespeare for relaxation, and people rib him unrelentlessly for expanding his mind. Remember the whole UPS thing above? The only person who thought it was great was the colleague reading The Illiad. I guess us creative people stick together.

I'm ranting like a creative 4 year old about their latest daydream. I'll catch ya'll later, after I watch some planes land.


  • I've have soooo been here before! Being the only person of color stinks sometimes. Actually...most of the time! You find yourself having to explain things more often than you wish and/or feeling left out. I just opened myself up to what they're interests are (even if they suck), sometimes you get surprised. Otherwise, stick close your friends and branch out to other professionals in the field (or not) for some new energy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:06 AM  

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