Wednesday, June 29, 2005

THE SLOW GRIND OF EDUCATIONAL POLITICS
The world of higher education continues to amuse and frustrate. And sometimes reward. After more than two years of being yanked around about a promotion to the level of job I actually do, it looks like we're within just a few weeks of making it happen. Slowly, the powers that must are signing off on the concept - it's now an issue of finding the acceptable title with the matching proper pay scale. For some dumb reason, this has become my job. I have to figure out my title because the school won't tell the department. Whatever. In an effort to keep me loyal during the process, the school simply wrote me a check for $5K because they couldn't properly adjust my salary until a certain month of the year. That was nice.

This process is so stupid and humiliating that I can't even discuss it with Natalie anymore, she just rolls her eyes at the latest excuses. And she's right. If any business in the world was run like this, it would be in Chapter 11. In Higher Ed, it's standard operating procedure. People are rewarded for creating the institutional gridlock that prevents change from happening too fast.

Another part of the puzzle - it's been decided that it would be a good thing for me to earn a Masters. This would somehow allow them to make me faculty and pay me accordingly (regardless that much of our faculty don't have a Masters or even a degree relating to their current job).

I tried to talk them into simply giving me the MA for my career thus far, but that didn't fly. I got a couple of offers that would permit me to get an MA or MS in a year or do, going part time and still working. I think I'm going to take the opportunity to get an MS at and new academy we're starting with EA called FIEA. The degree would be in Production Management for Game Design. While I hardly have hopes to jump ship to a developer, it will be interesting to understand how that program works from the inside, since our division hopes to work with them more closely. My MS is starting to feel something like an arranged marriage between school divisions, but that's okay. At least they have a cool program in a brand new space downtown. Change will be good.

My boss made a comment a few days ago that has really stuck with me. When discussing how I'd rather do a job myself and do it right rather than assign to somebody who would fuck it up, he came back with something like, "Yeah, you're a musician. That's why you're doomed in the working world."

As he explained it, any musician worth a damn cares about the result more than most everyone else. No matter what a union work rule might say, a musician is the guy who will say, "Fuck the rules, let me try one more take because that last one stunk." I think he's right. It is the curse of any decent musician to seek the best possible performance. At work, that usually means staying late to fix things done poorly by others.

Keep that in mind when considering piano lessons for the kids.