What to Do When the Abuse of Power Comes Whipping Through the Library

The administrator who drives me crazy with her micro-managing was at it again this week.  (Probably because her temporary gig as a senior admin ended with the return of that person, and the intensity hadn't died down yet.)

Thursday morning--already running on adrenaline because the primary grades' show was premiering that afternoon--she pounced on me in the library during my prep time.  

At 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, after an all-day back-and-forth email saga about one student who didn't have all the information about accessing textbooks online outside of school, after I explained I did not have (and was not keeper of) the login info for each subject's textbook--and in fact I was NOT the person who created and shared the initial Google spreadsheet doc set up for the kids to fill in that information for themselves, her response was "the student needs to go to each teacher and get the information."  

Which is what I had told ALL the students in September when they made their own copies of the doc.  Most of them at the very least had started typing in what they already knew.  O.K., fine, my work here is done, I thought that Wednesday afternoon, and went home fairly happy.

But NO.  For some reason, the following morning she consulted with the tech coordinator who WAS the creator of the doc--who told her the same things I did--she still didn't get it and came roaring over to the library, all wound up.

"You should have made sure they all did it.  This is your baby."

Wait, my what!?  

Oh, the eff it is, lady.  Don't you even dare tell me what my "baby" is.  You may have forced me to teach computer classes, but that doesn't make them my "baby."  I hate that expression, but if there's anything that's my baby in my job, that's the library.  And because you don't know anything about me outside of here, you don't know that my writing would be above all that.  And speaking of possessives and work, I'm pretty sure my co-faculty would think I'm stepping on their toes demanding all the information that's really between them and their students.  I don't need to be involved in any of that.

All those thoughts ran through my head at the same time I'm trying to control my face so my eyes don't bug out.  I had to think of a way to respond like a good little soldier.  So I said I'd talk to the student about getting the spreadsheet filled in.  That's the best I could get out while my trying to keep my head from exploding.

But after she flounced away, my head was pounding and my fury was aflame.  I may have used very bad words when my co-librarian asked what was up.  Those feelings stayed with me all day, and I went home and curled up on the sofa with the cat on my lap.  I just wanted to block out everything and everyone from that day.

The worst part was, while I'm standing out in the cold drizzle the following morning (as is my duty to see that the arriving students make it to the door O.K.), she walks up to me and starts talking about how excited she is that it's Friday and so on.  I had the sourest feeling inside as I listened to her go on about how her family is currently the stop for their parish's traveling shrine for Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It feels horrible to want to claw someone's eyes out as they're talking about the Blessed Mother who is one of my greatest spiritual confidantes among saints and holy people.  But I did want to.  Very badly.  It seems so ridiculous that someone who claims to love Jesus so much also loves to be so condescending to me.  So I plastered a smile on my face and just waited for it all to be over.

All that absurdity and anger was rolling around in my head as I sat in Mass this morning, and then the homily started.  About today's readings which remind us we are temples of the Holy Spirit, and that we are to pray for those who persecute us.  So I decided I needed to do better in the face of this adversity.  I'm going to pray for this person that bugs me so badly that I can't stand it.  I will pray for her.  Every day, one Hail Mary.  And ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to make it all better.

And keep me out of trouble for now.




Dave E. said…
"...I'm trying to control my face so my eyes don't bug out."

Haha...been there.

Good for you for listening and taking the homily to heart. I find myself getting irritated or angry a lot more than usual these days and your story is a good reminder to take a breath and think of the the bigger picture and my obligations.
Rob said…
You're quite amazing, Kate, to rise above it like that.
Kate P said…
Thanks, fellas. It doesn't happen overnight, but I do find I'm "toughening up" a bit, and realizing I'm not always the problem. It's been a lifelong process.
Linda Roberts said…
Yep, praying for those who annoy, vex, and treat me badly is very difficult; but, I have learned, it is necessary. Now, I feel less squirmy when praying "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Of course I must pray for the patience for patience!
Kate P said…
Good observation, Linda, and welcome! It's true, we're kind of being hypocritical if we gloss over that part of the "Our Father." How can we expect forgiveness when we don't give it to others?
Anonymous said…
hoobooooy, my own library situation gives me reason to do just the same. my mom - she's a good egg - reminded me this week, "You might be the only Jesus that [coworker] encounters this week." OOF. That's a reminder.

A Hail Mary a day. I think I can do that. Thanks, Kate. :)
Kate P said…
You got it, M.B.! And I must say, it has been pretty O.K. lately. I've been called on to help out with some stuff so I'm getting appreciation vibes quite a bit.
That said, there are rumors this person could be moving up the ladder. . . I won't stop praying just yet. ;)

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