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The Office, TB Style

The Office – TB style

Yes, Allison and Becca, I’m finally getting around to your request! Woohoo!

Like I’ve said before, I don’t talk much in specifics about where I work because the threat of being dooced is not all that much fun. But without going into specifics…hopefully this won’t be too boring.

I work for a university, in a department of about a hundred or so folks, in a sub-office with nine coworkers and a smattering of work-study students. We don’t often get together outside of work like some places I’ve been, but we never have any problems getting along inside the office. Having come from a prior job in which one horrifying coworker made the lives of an entire department hell on earth, I think it’s magnificent.

So, what’s it like working where I do?

Things you might expect about working for a university:

  • Athletics draws the university together. I don’t care if you’re Division I-A or Division III (and screw that “Bowl Subdivision” shit), if your football team is playing your blood-and-guts rival or your basketball team makes the tournament or your baseball team is playing for the conference title, you get excited about it.
  • If you’re into academics at all, you can just hang around and something cool will happen. The dude who did the first artificial heart transplant will give a speech. Condi Rice will come talk to the poli sci program. There’ll be a reception with Chuck Palahniuk or Ken Burns. You can get into ‘em all, free or dirt cheap.
  • Protests and young people working for causes. It usually makes me feel good when they’re passionate about something – unless, of course, it’s something I violently disagree with. But hey, right?
  • Musicians occasionally play cool concerts at colleges, or at least in venues in college towns.
  • Free access to the gyms. Bonus.
  • Guys hanging around outside the dorms on nice days playing guitar. That never gets old to me.
  • Pickup basketball and sandpit volleyball games.
  • Young people walking around in various states of dress, particularly in warm weather. Nice scenery, whatever your gender or sexual preference.

Cool things you might not expect:

  • Attending conferences can be fun. Especially when your boss’s idea of a good time is to take a bottle of whiskey and invite all his friends up to his room.
  • Awesomely long borrowing periods from the campus library – kiss it, fellow book nerds! Mwuhahahah!
  • When you play the conference champion and kick their ass during an outright monsoon, you and your coworkers can hold each other upright long enough to get absolutely shitfaced drunk. And if you’re lucky, your wife doesn’t call them the next day to see if they remember what happened to your wallet, since you don’t (until you finally realize that you put it down in a weird place in the house and forgot about it).
  • NCAA tournament pools take on special significance, and even more so if your school makes it (whatever the division or sport). The rumors are true that occasionally pizza is ordered and that, very rarely, the students outside knock on our door and ask us to hold it down, we’re disturbing them.

Uncool things you might not expect:

  • The “old chick/dude” vibe you occasionally get. C’mon, I was reading your t-shirt, ferfucksake! And don’t even get me started…if you’re wearing pants with a word written across your ass, don’t blame ME for my attention being drawn to your ass, okay?!?
  • Constant cigarette litter from people who haven’t figured out that it makes them look like kids trying to look grown-up.
  • Occasional adults, not college employees and quite probably mentally ill, who wander into public places and bug the living shit out of the staff, and/or fixate unhealthily on college students. Like maybe one of your student workers. Ack.

Downright weird things you might not expect:

  • Strange graffiti in the mens’ rooms in public buildings. Everything from gay pickup lines (“BJ here June 5th 2pm”) to bragging (“A cute Chi O gave me the best blowjob of my life in this stall last night!”) to racist slurs to toilet humor to downright strangeness. From what I understand, the ladies’ rooms don’t suffer the same fate.
  • Sidewalk chalk graffiti that just gets goofy. Yes, it’s awfully cute that you wrote “DZ Loves Pike” all over campus when you have a mixer this weekend. It confuses the shit out of me when I see “DZ Loves DU” later that month. What happened to Pike? Did he get drunk and hit on your best friend? Did he dump you, did you dump him, what’s up? Don’t dangle the gossip in bits, spill it out!!

But just in general if you enjoyed your college years you’d probably enjoy working around a college. I’ve worked in the corporate sector before, where not everyone was out grubbing dimes, but the few who were overly obsessed with their own pocketbooks ruined it for everyone else. I’ve also briefly worked for the gub’mint, and that sort of bureaucracy isn’t all that much fun, either. (Especially during economic downturns like right now…ugh.) But working for the university definitely gives you a better feeling of being a part of something, helping in a small way toward the ideal of helping people learn and do things that will ultimately help us all out. At the end of the day, that’s pretty damned cool.


5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the insight 🙂 I could really see enjoying the college atmosphere for the reasons you mentioned…and I wouldn’t dig the cigarettes are oddball wanderers.

    We used to live a couple of blocks away from a small liberal arts college, and I loved walking around the campus for exercise…I especially enjoyed watching the flag football games and men’s soccer practice. Matt enjoyed when the cheerleaders went running past our house.

  2. I’ve seen some pretty inventive graffiti in ladies rooms. The best ladies room graffiti ever was in Boston’s legendary rock club, The Rat.

    Yes, I’ve been in quite a few ladies rooms. Yes, I’m a guy. And, to quote the legendary Warren Zevon, I don’t want to talk about it.

  3. […] Biker under A Nice Guy Speaks, War Between the Sexes   I was thinking a little bit about my blog from yesterday and had another thought come to me.  Reading Allison’s blog from last night sort of cemented […]

  4. I live a few blocks away from our universitiy and it’s fun. We hear all the crap going on. Football games, basketball games, drunken fights. I kinda like the college atmosphere. It makes me feel smart.

  5. […] Posted by Taoist Biker under Life and other states of existence   Here’s another one of those things you don’t necessarily think about when it comes to working on […]

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