The one thing I hate about my job is disappointing the people I ‘serve’. I guarantee some choice words are said about me. I am often the bad guy, a necessary part of managing a service, but no one likes being the bad guy.
Last week I published a post, or a piece of therapy, about the different pressures and tensions that dictate how I work. A focus being who we should listen to The silent majority vs the deafening minority. Then I read a post from Anne-Marie Scott titled Passivity.
I’ve been reading articles (old and new) and watching videos (old and new) this week which are replaying familiar EdTech tropes and I’m sick of it. Anne-Marie Scott 2017
The tropes she goes on to describe can be paraphrased as the [insert system here] is rubbish, IT departments are evil, vendors/suppliers are evil, no one understands us, we’re being forced, x is a closed system (so evil) and no one does what I want. Her post is mainly in reference to senior people within the education sector. She goes on to describe how we can influence institutional choices and culture.
What does her blog have to do with me? Well, I am part of those tropes.
I am not your enemy
I wrote a blog along these lines some time ago. I am not your enemy was a response to a particularly unpleasant training session my colleague and I attended. People were unhappy at being forced to use something, we weren’t the people forcing them but we were the focus of their irritation. It was a desperate plea for people to think beyond their own perspective.
Rest assured, I am not here to make your life more difficult, despite what you might believe but that doesn’t mean I will roll over and do everything you want. I am not part of some big conspiracy against you. I’m just doing my job the best I can. Same as you.
What do I mean by the harbinger of doom?
I am the person that says “yer that’s great, we would if we could, but…”, “we can’t right now” or “no”.
I don’t understand. I am ignoring you. I am the laggard. I am unimaginative. I am uncreative. I am the dictator. I am the oppressor. I am part of the broken system. I am the bringer of no, nope and Nah. I am the quasher of dreams. I am the destroyer of enthusiasm. I am the omen of the apocalypse. I am Zuul.
Who am I really?
I have good intentions. I’m a realist. I don’t promise more than I can deliver. I don’t take uncalculated risks. I work to make things sustainable. I want to help. I am listening. I understand. I do care.
But I do have to say no.
No is necessary
I can’t say yes to everything. IT’S NOT PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE. Read the previous post. Remember, a no usually means there was a yes to something/someone else. Also, sometimes I have to say no to save you from yourselves. Sometimes I have to say no and it’s not even my decision. Sometimes I have to say no because it’s not a sound technical solution.
If you want services and systems that are unsustainable then let me know. I’ll give you yes’s and you can explain why none of it works.
I’m not saying you have to like nos. I’m not saying you have to accept them. I’m just asking you to understand that I have to say no sometimes. Please reciprocate the empathy and respect I have for you.
Haters gonna hate
No matter what I do, I will never win. I have come to accept that. No one contacts people like me to say that everything is going well and I’m doing a good job.
So to the haters, I make this promise.
I will help you despite how you treat me. I will treat you equally. I will be transparent. I will work to get you what you want. I will listen to your feedback and act on it. I will empathise and try to understand you. I will be disappointed in myself every time I say no. I will be your champion.
Of haters, I ask that you understand there’s a lot more to every no than you think. I am not the pantomime villain, I’m the good fairy who can’t always grant your wishes.