Saturday, July 23, 2005

I have a job too

At times people have told me that they cant do something because they have a job. Yea, right, and I'm supposed to do it because I dont. Sheesh! Others working at non-academic organizations feel that I have a luxurious job, 8:30 am to 3:30 am, summer and winter vaccations. Heaven, right? Sure! I leave for work at 7:45 am and if I enter home before 10 pm, my folks offer thanksgiving prayers. All this time I'm out earning money left and right? Not at all. I'm out spending on stuff that I do for others, because of the inward pleasure that it brings to make a difference in others' lives.
Try to leave your jobs and spend a day in my life. Try dealing with a 140 students a class, for two classes that you're teaching, and one class that you taught last year, four batches that graduated being your student, who would come down for recommendation letters, advice, discussion, the department's sweeper, the department's electrician, other faculty members with their day to day needs that I'm supposed to take care of, the services department employees who need my advice and signatures when they replace a tube light or a door knob or a water tap based on a written complaint from myself, and the suppliers who are supplying everything from computers to printers, to paper, to tube lights, to electric wires, to furniture, and a few other things for icing on the cake. Not a moment goes by when there is only one thing on my mind, only one person in the queue. Today, after leaving class, I counselled three students within ten steps of walking distance, another five at the foot of the staircase to the laboratory corridor, not to mention those who were waiting upstairs. No wonder I cant make it to class on time. Some people suggest that I should force consultation during designated consultation hours only. But our patients wouldnt understand that. They want it "right now." I'm pushed towards burn out, but since its not for long, I let it be. But the worst is when all of them minus a couple ask you the magic question, "Sir aap busy to naheen hain?" meaning, asking me if I am not busy. For all of you, know that the true answer is, of course I'm busy, just throw your question and save us both some time. Your questions help me learn, so keep them coming, but be understanding, too.
A certain group of people, when they ask a question, they want the solution, not the path to the solution, which is exactly what Adnan is saying in his posting. They dont want you tell them a big picture of how things are to be done, they dont even want you to tell you which menu to go to and which option to select and which method to write what code into, they want you to give them the solution. Thank God, none of my students are like that. My students are all smarter than me.
As Adnan said, if you feel that I (we) helped you, if you feel that we did the right thing, do help others. You dont have to acquire a certain status to start helping, you can start anytime.
If you seek help, do your homework. Often people come asking for help when they dont even understand what they are about to do. Fine, no one knows what they are about to do most of the time, but if you want to extract something out of a consultation session, you should read ahead and plan and prepare so that you can actually absorb what is being said. Many times people have come and I tell them what to do and in the end we are still where they started, and they ask me what they should do, I'm like, DUH! That's why, when I give anyone a lot of directions, I pause, repeat my instructions, write them down with numbering and give it to them.

1 comment:

Adnan Farooq Hashmi said...

Its good that you and I have finally been able to get that off our chests. :)
I just hope the people around us understand our point-of-view.