In the yinny-yangy world of work, my last post, “Welcome to UW-Bitchland,” was a protest against a criticism I responded badly to–someone suggested that full-time faculty should be on campus five days a week. Since I’m not, I took it personally. I absolutely don’t agree. I’m VERY available to students in person when I’m on campus (four days a week), and on email when I’m not (I check email six days a week). Also this: “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive!” (I took their energy audit and I am officially only 20% energized. Sheesh. More on that another time.)
But today, I’m really, truly feeling the love. A colleague who’s probably 15 years younger than me checked in through email–someone had criticized me in a way she thought was simply not true, and she just wanted to check in.
Driving to work I was thinking how lucky I am to have worked in a place with people ahead of me and behind me (chronologically) who supported me.
It’s more than support. I truly feel that I have a solid cohort of folks who see me, who get me, who appreciate me.
So of course, I was reminded of Bradley Cooper.
In multiple interviews, he relates this story, how he had “taped an audition scene with his mother, hoping to land a role as De Niro’s son in 2009’s ‘Everybody’s Fine.’ A hotel meeting ensued, Cooper remembers, that was typically short and pointed.’He looked at me,’ Cooper says, ‘and he said, “Yeah, you’re not gonna get it [Sam Rockwell did], but I see it . . . I see you . . . I see you . . . oh, uh, who was reading the other role, your mother? Yeah, I thought that.'”
What you see when you watch a lot of Bradley Cooper interviews is how over-the-moon he has been and still is about Robert DeNiro. It’s unabashed. And apparently, it’s mutual–Mr. DeNiro also gushed on Katie Couric’s show.
So here’s me gushing: I’m celebrating love of colleagues this Valentine’s Day. I’m not saying I love every single one of my colleagues (what are the odds of that even being possible?), but I am saying thank-you to people who have said to me in so many ways over the years, “I see it…I see you.”
I want to try harder than ever to say it back, to seek out those people and those moments and say it loud and proud: “I see it…I see you.” I love you.
(photo from flickr creative commons by Spixey)
Yes, I hear you. Sometimes I am envious of my colleagues who can work from home, but then I realize that what works for them (no kids, for one) doesn’t work for me. I never understood the push to have faculty on campus 5 days a week (we had one a few years ago that met with stiff and loud resistance). Most of us hold plent of office hours our students rarely avail themselves of, and we are often expected to answer emails at all hours. It’s kind of nuts, really. I put a statement on my syllabus that basically tells them that I am not a 7/11 and that I answer emails M-F, to forestall the inevitable complaints from students who email on Saturday regarding an assignment due in the Dropbox on Sunday night.
Finding balance will probably take us most of our working life, but it’s worth it to keep trying. Or at least that’s what I am discovering.
Definitely worth it. And definitely not there yet. Quite.