It’s semester two and deadlines are looming. The building is full of stressed students and things are going wrong, things which it is my job to fix. Printers jamming or print queues freezing, confusing binding machines, corrupted USB sticks and lost essays. It’s not so long ago that I was trying to hand in coursework or prepare for exams, so I have lots of empathy for our student body and always go out of my way to help. I have sat with my head inside a printer for 15 minutes, pulling out paper jams* until the blasted things starts printing again. I have stood by the binding machine and helped student after student bind their work**. I have printed off work on my own PC when a usb stick won’t open on a student PC. I have sat with countless mature students and helped them re-organise their slides in Powerpoint, or taught them how to insert page numbers in Word.
And I don’t mind doing any of this; I enjoy helping, it’s what I’m here to do. But I do get annoyed when after running around like a maniac and solving a problem for someone, I am met with nothing but a “THANK YOU JESUS!” Erm, excuse me, it wasn’t Jesus that unjammed that printer, it was me! It wasn’t Jesus that rescued your presentation from the recycle bin, it was me! And it certainly wasn’t Jesus who has sat with you for 15 minutes trying to work out why your printing wasn’t showing up at the print release station, only to then discover that you’d just sat down at an already logged on but abandoned PC and were merrily using someone else’s account, because I sincerely doubt he’d have the patience! I am standing in front of you having saved your arse and what do I get? “THANK YOU JESUS!” And in my experience, that exclamation is rarely followed up by a personal thank you to me as well. I don’t really mind when it’s the Library that’s messed up, or when it’s Library equipment that has gone wrong, but when I’ve gone out of my way to help solve a problem that was the student’s fault in the first place and Jesus is thanked instead of me, then I do get a bit hacked off, to be honest.
Plus, it may have been a while since I’ve been to church but I was raised methodist and I rather understood that the whole point of being a Christian was that you lived a good and moral life on earth in order to ensure that you went to heaven. I’m not sure that any part of the deal was that Jesus would personally intervene in every Christians life any time they were having a bad day and would happily use his power to unjam printers and rescue corrupted files. I’m reasonably sure there would have been some mention of that in the Bible at some point.***
I’d like to conclude this post with some sort of constructive point or suggestion, but I don’t actually have one. So I shall file this in the ‘Rant’ category and leave you with the knowledge that should you ever see me tweeting in ALL CAPS with too many exclamation points in April or May, it is likely to be for this reason and you should probably send me cake.
*And usually burning my fingers on the fuser as well, because it’s quicker for me to burn myself than it is to remove the whole fuser unit and carry it over to IT and ask them for their tweezers; SEE HOW I CARE?!?!?!
**It can be difficult to maintain the distinction between ‘showing them’ and ‘doing it for them’, if you get distracted you can find yourself with a pile of dissertations and no students…
***”And lo, the clouds parted and a light shone down and a voice was heard to say “Look, have you tried turning it off and on again?”"