Monday, February 21, 2011

If you could, would you?

It's been a huge week for me at work. For about a year now, we've had two large decisions hanging over our heads:

  1. Do we officially adopt certain national standards for our online classes, and undergo all of the training to review and rework all of those classes?
  2. What will our new online delivery system be? Our current system is being discontinued, so we must move to something new. 
It's been a year of paperwork, research, testing, meetings...rinse and repeat.   The respective committees finally made their recommendations, which had to be presented to the President of the college for approval.  After all, it'll mean he signs a huge check for these things.  In a year when everyone is expected to slash budgets, we're asking for an expenditure of about a million bucks.

We had both meetings with the college President last week.  That was a fun morning.  No stress at all.  Luckily for me, my boss did most of the talking.  I was there to do presentations and fill in details.

The first meeting gets underway.  The whole committee is there, to support the recommendation.  My boss is explaining the whole thing, talking directly to the President.

And the man turns to talk to the person sitting next to him. In a normal, conversational tone.  While my boss is talking to him. Boss kept talking, but he threw a knowing grin around the room.  Apparently, everyone else was accustomed to this rudeness, but I was still appalled.

Still, we got what we wanted and were told to proceed with implementing the program and training we needed.  Cool.  One down.

The second meeting set up much the same.  I'm at the front of the room, waiting for my cue to show the pretty presentation I had for the President.  He sits down and flips through the handouts.  "You guys know more about this than me," he says.  That's about all he says.

My boss is sitting beside him, with the IT director.  They are going through the hows and whys of our recommendation.  They're, like, two feet from him.

He whips out his iPhone and starts texting.

They keep talking.

He gets up. And leaves.

My jaw dropped.  Seriously?

The accounting guy tells us we're free to proceed with the contract.  They know all they need to know.  Rubber stamp, and we're done.  We got what we wanted.

I must have had a look on my face because someone asked me to go ahead and show the pretty pictures.  I did that, but felt rather patronized.

On the way back to my office, I was elated that we got what we wanted, but I was still appalled by the behavior of our President. It was arrogant and demeaning.  I'm still a little speechless.

At first, I wished that it was acceptable for me to do something similar.  When I'm tired of a meeting, I just leave. Wow.

But would I really be that rude to people?  No, I wouldn't.  It's a matter of respect.  By showing me the disrespect he did, with his rudeness, he also harmed my respect for him.

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