19 May 2005

The Red Queen Finally Catches a Break

Do you remember the Red Queen's advice to Alice in Through the Looking Glass? "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'

Lately, I've felt a lot more like the Red Queen and a lot less like a Science Goddess. It seems I've been running very fast and just barely managing to keep my place. But the last few days have had some breaks in my favour. On Tuesday, a 3-hour meeting was reduced to one. Yesterday, an afternoon meeting was cancelled (meaning I could hang out with some cool friends and enjoy a glass...or two...of wine). And today? An evening event I was to help with next week has been tabled.

Meanwhile, there has been some drama in my department at school and tonight, I need to carefully craft a letter. You might remember that we have a rather difficult colleague. The truth is that as a professional he is a good teacher, has some very nice ideas, and excellent rapport with kids. The rest of the truth is that as a person he is a bully and a jerk (never with kids, only with staff members). He likes to be alone with our less experienced teachers and tell them that they know nothing about having a passion for teaching (yeah, that's why one of them left a $150K/yr job to teach 3 classes a day) and how he is right about everything. He yells and curses at them---but always away from others so that there are rarely any eye or earwitnesses. He pulled his crap on me once and I called him on it. He went back to picking on others. Several weeks ago, he removed all his personal items from our office and from his classroom. He has made no secret for months now that he wants to go elsewhere.

And now he has a job offer at a cushy district down the road. (This is also where his wife works.) It is a math job, but there will likely be some science in the future. So what's the problem? He wants to know if he should stay here...and have his wife apply for one of our soon to be vacant positions and come to our school.

Today, he asked me what it would take to mend fences with our science department...if that's possible. I told him that I would like to give him a thoughtful reply and have bought some time. The fact is, I want him to go away. And I'm not the only one who would jump for joy if he resigned. He's a good teacher and good for kids, but the damage he has wrought on my department members is great. The real kicker is that he is playing "the victim" in all of this.

Off with his head! (Maybe the Red Queen isn't quelled just yet...)

I have to find a nice way to word things before tomorrow. Oy. Maybe I should "run along" for now and do that.


P.S. The Red Queen Hypothesis is also an interesting evolutionary concept, if you're interested.

UPDATE: Read the delightful exchange that happened between my Difficult Colleague and me here.


Anonymous said...

Dear Difficult Co-Worker,

You ask a question that is really impossible for me to answer. If you have a desire to mend fences with others, you need to ask them and not me. Be prepared to check your ego at the door and receive a lot of the hostility that you have sent their direction. And if you are unwilling to do that, perhaps it is better if you move on.

I wish you the best.

SG....something like that??


Anonymous said...

If no one there likes him, and he found a job he thinks he will like better, why is there a problem?