11.14.2008

What Does That Even Mean?

The Productive Act of a Future Teacher --->

It seems like the new job is getting in the middle of other people trying to do a job. I'm meeting more people who seem like all they do all day is get in the way of real people doing real work. They're partnering, liaisonning, meeting, and streamlining. As a person who hates meetings, it doesn't seem productive to interrupt real work to talk about how to do work, unless you know more about this work. Am I the only one who thinks this is unproductive?

I was invited to an Eastside economic development meeting yesterday. It was exciting being in a room with all sorts of really smart, really successful people talking dynamically. The speaker was this amazing mayor with a proven record of increasing productivity in the public sector. I was itching to talk to people about being efficient and getting rid of waste.

The first woman I met said she worked with day care centers. "I don't run day care centers," she said. "I work with a company that works with day care centers. We teach and work with them in a variety of ways."

Not knowing what to say next, I smiled and introduced myself to someone else.

"We bring businesses together," the next guy said. "We bring them together and they communicate so they don't all end up doing the same things in parallel. We're helping them be more efficient."

I didn't know what that meant, either.

Except for my Habitat colleague and the guy sitting across me from Verizon, I wasn't really sure what this roomful of people actually did. The Verizon guy was nice but I wasn't sure what to ask him, even though he seemed to do real work.

Instead, I turned to my colleague and started talking with her. Anyone who works long hours for a small non-profit salary, helping low-income people buy basic, decent, affordable homes must have an interesting story.

It turns out her parents are in education. They'd moved back and forth across the country to teach, sometimes working three jobs, and to eventually earn their PhDs. They are teachers, still, and sound like the kind of people who make a real difference.

Inspiring.