Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Hate Being the Fool

(This has nothing at all to do with this post but it made me laugh. They actually have a card category called "troubled relationship"??? It seems like if your relationship is in trouble, that might be because you give trite cards to each other instead of actually communicating...")

As I have mentioned before, I work for one of the deans at BYU (I am kind of just clue-ing into the fact that you are supposed to be a little teensy anonymous on blogs....) and I have a pretty sweet job. Everyone that I work with is very kind, professional, and pleasant and so my coworker situation is great. The people that come into our office are generally happy and just here to talk to the dean or deliver something. Melissa, my co-worker, tells me that I should appreciate cheerful foot-traffic as she used to work in the employment office and people there are usually yelling at you because you *gasp* asked them for their SS Card like every other job in the United States).

Anyway, the only occasionally unpleasant people that I have to deal with are students that barge in here, thinking that if they waltz in they will get an instant audience with the dean to discuss the C- they got in American Heritage. NEWSFLASH: the dean is super busy. And there is a chain of command here people. Would you appeal a traffic violation that you got in Rigby, Idaho to the U.S. Supreme Court? (Well, if they got an C- in American Heritage maybe they don't know how the court system works).  Now, I understand that things like this aren't always clear, and being a student myself, I am very sympathetic to the fact that it is frustrating when you have a problem or concern and you are pointed in seven different directions by different people and offices and no one will actually talk to you. I really feel their pain, and I want to see victory for the common man so I am always really nice and polite in explaining that they need to talk to their adviser/professor/TA before they march up to the highest ranking person in the college.

However, last week I got a particularly difficult case. This guy came in here and was acting kind confused and upset about something and he really wanted to talk to the dean. First of all, student complaints are handled by one of the associate deans anyway so I explained that. He was very persistent and wouldn't comply with the procedures that we use for students that request a meeting, and, although I was trying to be very understanding, I was getting increasingly frustrated that he was being so disrespectful of how we handle things and the associate dean's time in just wanting to come meet with her without doing the stuff that he was supposed to first, namely, telling me what his problem even was. 

Now, they guy was from an Asian country and he had a hard time with English, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn't understanding me. However, the fact that I have a Japanese last name made him think that I was his ally, and for a minute, I was because I felt bad for him and his plight. Our conversation regarding that matter of our mutual Asian-ness went something like this:

Guy: (seeing my nameplate on my desk) "Wait....(confused stare)...this your last name?"

Me: "Yep!"

Guy: "But it's...."

Me: "Japanese, yeah. My husband is Japanese-American"

Guy: "Ohhh....he look...?" (does motion over his own face)

Me: "Yes, he looks Japanese"

Guy: "But he was born here?"

Me: "...Uh-huh, he was born here but he looks %100 Asian"

Guy "His parents Japanese?" (Not sure how else this would work?)

Me: (starting to get tired of this tangent) "Yes, he was born here, his parents are Japanese, and thus, he is Japanese. And American. It's all very cosmopolitan and the epitome of the American dream (ok not really the last part)"

Anyway, this guy and I have been emailing back and forth all week, and he was getting ruder and ruder and finally, it came out that he isn't even a student and he is like breaking rules and stuff and now I look like a royal dummy for trying to help him all week (even though how could I have possibly known that he wasn't a BYU student? I am not even cool enough to have access to peoples' academic records. That is only for the cool kids in the registrar's office) and he was trying to pull one over on me and sneak into the associate dean's office and do I don't know what. Oh well....last time I try to help a student out. Expect nothing but cold stares and short answers from me if you come in to get help now that I have been burned.

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