While I’m writing this I have peaches still under my fingernails. We’ve had a bad year for farmers here in Western New York, a very late hard frost/freeze, a wet and cool early summer, and now we’re in the middle of a “mild drought”. Fruit and vegetables crops will likely be diminished from previous years, so I have to plan ahead with my peaches. If I can get a peck of them now, skin them and freeze them, I won’t have to pay an arm and a leg in the middle of the winter when I want to make peach cobbler. I need to spend a bit of money now so I don’t have to spend more down the road, and to realize that changes in the world can and will affect me.
I try to live by planning ahead, not with solid plans, but with a main idea of saving money and being smart about what I do. I try to do the same at work in order to put out fires that come up without sacrificing something else. For example, I did a huge update to the school’s directory in June, so when we get ready to print them in late August there are only a few updates left. Prospective student packets are put together in advance, and arranged in a way so that if surprise guests arrive at the office we’re prepared. My co-worker is of the same mindset, and we’re prepared in a way so that we can handle just about anything that walks through the door.
But, and there always seems to be a but lately, the culture my co-worker and I walked into on campus is more of a “put out all of the fires when they’re really bad and generally all at the same time” versus preventing the fires from happening in the first place. It can make some weeks very frustrating, and it also makes things more interesting because we never really know what we’ll walk into each morning. Neither of us have been in the office for a full academic year, so we’re still surprised by some events or series of events that unfold. Most of the stories I tell are amusing now, after the fact, but that doesn’t take away the frustration I felt in the moment. I suppose this may be one of those things grad school doesn’t prepare you for.
Any suggestions on how to get used to the (non)fire-fighting culture?