ah, now I get it! Slow processing time, and I needed a few repetitions of the feedback in different ways. 🙂
It seems there are actually TWO aspects of me emailing Michael about the overenrollment policy to which folks reacted. One aspect is how I did it – based upon what anonymous characterized as my “misunderstanding”. I have some historical insight into this now (below). The other aspect though, the one which may (?) have lasting repercussions, is the fact that I emailed him at all.
Here, I am the locus of several discourses – on being an activist, being a colleague, being a leader, being a follower …. “being” out of all the minority/majority discourses that have shaped my identity … and being a competitor? And, since I’m committed to developing my own phenomenology, I also have to include “being” in a spiritual sense, and the discourses around that.
I want to make a difference. I want to have influence. Do those things automatically mean I want to have “power over”? In the past, no doubt. For all kinds of reasons. And, also undoubtedly, many of those vestiges remain in my mannerisms and style. Do I want my own way? You bet, sometimes. But often “my own way” has been ultimately dissatisfying in the end. So how does one “make a difference” if the end-goal isn’t clearly in view? If I don’t have “a certain way” that I want things to come out but I want to be engaged in a process where there is a collective product?
As to the misunderstanding part, yes, I can see how the energy of my email felt like there was an assumption of ill intent. Phee wrote this pretty clearly. And I accept that most of the people I heard venting didn’t feel that way. Everyone seems to agree there is a problem with Spire that needs to be addressed, and some people may even agree that as TA’s we have a big role to play in the solution. The venting may have had more to do with the “surprise” element than anything else.
From my point of view, the surprise factor is just as legitimate a complaint as the fact of the policy itself. And this kind of surprise is, in fact, a common characteristic of institutional processes (or so-called organizational communication). As friendly and amenable and supportive as our department is, it is also still an institution in and of itself, and it operates within several layers of institution. So, I think the tone/energy of my email had to do with my interpretation on this level. That’s why to me nothing I wrote was personal, and why the readings of it as a personal attack were baffling. It wasn’t where I was coming from in pulling the information together.
However, the deeper subjective bullshit is that my bias is to assume that whoever’s in authority probably doesn’t a clue about what they’re doing. I know this is NOT TRUE in many, many instances, but that early familial programming is damn hard to override. That might be another factor in the “offness” people experienced in what I wrote.
Finally, and this sucks worst of all, I’m sure there was some element of displacement from my inability to do anything to help my daughter. My helplessness and frustration in that situation may have transferred into my read of this situation, at least as an opportunity for an outlet. At the very least, it created an “event” that took up a lot of emotional energy that had no other place to go. For this, I apologize to everyone.