Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Ian // Development Assistant (Part 2)

The long awaited sequel to Ian's account of "fucking it real bad" at an unnamed Oxbridge college: read Part 1 here.  

After the call from the Master, I thought it would be prudent to email my boss explaining what had happened. It was, honestly, a really good message, in which I balanced the requisite level of contrition and shame for my failures with a decent amount of explanation and mitigation. There was also a general sense of hope for the future, one that was misplaced, because the following evening I received this email:

"Dear Ian,

I have just read your message and the message left for me by the Master as well about this issue.  I have been in a place where I have been unable to obtain Internet, so I am a bit delayed in my reply.

I am SHOCKED and APPALLED at the magnitude of this failure.  This is a disturbing situation on numerous levels.  The personal embarrassment I feel is immense.  The Office's credibility is severely damaged and my oversight comes into serious question (and not without good reason).

The carelessness and lack of professional respect afforded the Master and the Dean, let alone the graduands themselves, is truly shocking to me.

We will need to discuss all of this upon your return.  For now, I will address things with the Master.

This is a disappointing circumstance and I blame MYSELF for my lack of managerial oversight and attention.


Even at the time, I struggled to take seriously the melodramatic capitalisations and onanistic self-flagellation. The Master's call was completely amicable by comparison. When I finally returned to work (all of this correspondence happened on my week off, remember...), I had to sit in my boss's office while he explained to me that I messed up not due to good, old-fashioned carelessness, but because of my very deeply seated moral failings. The meeting lasted an hour, and each time I attempted to protest he just raised a single finger in my face to indicate that this was, in face, a monologue (and one that I suspect he had fully prepared). He literally showed me the door, and gave me the option to stop working there, or to demonstrably improve very quickly.

A large part of me really wanted to just leave right then, but I had rent to pay, and doing so would've left colleagues who I liked up shit creek, so I didn't. I stayed employed for a further six months by a man who told me, with not a hint of irony, that I'd "taken everybody in the office for a joyride, but now the car has crashed."