Who doesn’t love a good ol’ dose of admin crap…

“I would kindly appreciate it if you would think about it,” my boss told me a little over a year ago.

“Well… It doesn’t seem like I have much of a choice, do I,” I asked in return.

“Well. No, not really. Someone has to do it,” he answered.

I hate it when people bullshit me into thinking I have a choice. At least be honest with me when you push some shitty job onto me. And this job is pretty shit, I can tell you this.

He had just explained to me before that the department would need a new responsible person for teaching administration and course registration procedures. The person that used to be responsible was recovering from a stroke, and had decided to retire early. An understandable decision. The months that followed I dove into the teaching administration system with another colleague. We had to learn a new craft, and there was no one to teach us. In addition, the system had had a complete overhaul, which meant that we had to learn a lot of new stuff. Long (and boring) story short, we managed to figure out how to get things to work. In addition, we also figured out that the system in use by the TUM is one of the most ridiculous accounting systems I have ever seen. (I spent a year or so in a shit job in an accountancy office, and thought I had seen the worst, but no.)

The system here, is basically a combination of several existing systems, that are somehow tied together by a vague system that is supposed to link everything. Behind the visible system, there is some huge and hard-to-access network, which I find impossible to comprehend. The teaching curriculum we offer can somehow be copied from previous semesters, but so are all the mistakes, and dead ends. Via some complicated multi-step process, it is possible to – every semester – tie the whole mess back together. This would work just fine if people would just decide on a curriculum and stick with it. That seems unacceptable for everyone here. Every semester, there need to be new courses, or old ones deleted, or deleted ones revived, and of course with the staff turnover in academia, you can already guess that I have to always change teachers as well. To be honest, my boss spends so much time answering my questions, and preparing the teaching schedule to give to me, that I am pretty convinced that he would be better off doing it all himself. The whole system (well, at least the department’s) is mostly based on his thoughts, and every semester, it appears that he is the only one that fully understands it. Three semesters of arranging this shit, and I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing. It is almost via magic that I get it to work every time. I hate administrative stuff so bad (that accountancy job gave me psychological trauma and repetitive strain injury) that I really don’t want to (and can’t) remember the complexities of this hellhole of a teaching administration system. You can rest assured that after a six month semester, my mind has quietly labeled this information as useless and has not stored it in an easily accessible space.

This week, I spent quite a few hours on this horrible system. It frustrates me. (Just so that that is clear…)

A toddler could invent something better.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of one but almost two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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