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It shouldn’t be my job!

Here’s a message I recently received from one of our ASAs.

Alumni Relations called about an invoice from the Comfort Inn dated 4/23. The name on the room was […] Do you know anything about this? [Pronoun] is a CS alum.

I’m not sure why Alumni Relations considers it appropriate to ask our ASA about this issue; alumni visit campus for multiple reasons, often independent of their majors. But this alum is someone I know and like and I’d even seen them when they visited. I thought they were here for admissions or for alumni council, and I said so (and cc’d the alum).

But then I remembered that they had asked to see me during the visit. And I don’t throw away old email [1]. Here’s what they had written.

I will be coming into Grinnell on April 8th to help out the admissions team.

I forwarded that message back to my ASA.

I suppose that if I were the curmudgeon I claim to be, I would have written a response more like the following.

Please let Alumni Relations know that I am on a nine-month contract and therefore unavailable to answer administrative questions during the summer. I will be happy to respond to their question once the semester begins.

But I like the folks in Alumni Relations. And I’m happy to help out with questions like this. As I’ve said, Grinnell works best as a community in which people feel comfortable asking people questions.

Or maybe I really am a curmudgeon. After all, in the back of my head there’s this voice saying Why are they wasting our ASA’s time and my time? It shouldn’t be our job to answer these questions!

[1] Keeping email can be useful. For example, someone who was putting together a schedule for a candidate asked me if I had the schedule from when the Empress of the Forum Underworld interviewed. Even though HR no longer had it, I did.

Version 1.0 of 2017-07-26.