Though the day kicks off, as usual, with a breakfast welcome meeting, I find myself again feeling somewhat like "Fred the Baker" in the classic Dunkin Donuts Commercial . The tireless donutarian drags himself out of bed, and shuffles out the door, muttering "time to make the donuts." Ceaselessly coming and going, his faithful wife greeting him and sending him off, Fred waddles through a seemingly endless cycle. His daily reward for the Sisyphean task? A line of happy customers, always waiting anxiously for some donuts.
August and September annually blur themselves together when you work in academia, but I always find some shreds of variety in the routines we march through each year. And no matter how much stays the same, I always find a few glints of the unique and special, from meeting new people, changing tasks, or seeing the university, the department, and all our rules and protocols through the fresh lens of a new staff member. And, like Fred, I find the routine often dull, and the reward in serving happy customers. And after 15 years, I still get up at roughly the same time, though I worked too late or worried too much about what the next day would bring, and trudge to work.The routine reasserts itself, and I find some comfort there, not in the rules, the tasks or any of the other nonsense, but through the eyes of new students, their parents and new staff.
So, as you drag yourself out of bed today and stare another year down, muttering to yourself "time to make the donuts," try to remember that there are all kinds of donuts out there, and plenty of hungry people waiting for what you have to serve. It may seem mundane drudgery to you, but to the people you serve, "them are some damn tasty donuts!," and well worth the wait. One could do worse than be a baker of donuts. Good luck to all as we start another year!