Add It to the List

Among the things all can agree we don’t need any more of is this: supervisors.

The list of “enough” is paradoxically lengthy and growing, as previously reported. We already have enough gas stations, enough fast food restaurants and enough shoe stores. OK, maybe not the last one. How many more supervisors are required? And just who is being supervised and what are they doing that requires supervision?

Note: the present text is not a rant about the well-known if underappreciated subject of title inflation. It’s been discussed. Here. And elsewhere.

Instead, the entry concerns who’s doing the work.

The hallway in one academic building on a college campus hosts ten offices. Eight of the ten have nameplates indicating either a manager, supervisor or director is housed within. One is for an associate vice president and one is home to a senior staff assistant.

All this managing and directing and supervising. And no assistant vice presidents (never mind someone with the diminutive, lonely title of “vice president”) or “junior” staff assistant. There hasn’t been a person with the job title of “secretary” since typewriters were manual. Indeed, the only secretaries today are cabinet level positions and they require Congressional approval.

Each of the eight managers or supervisors or directors in the hallway appears to head up one kind of program or another. Not the kind of program that, for instance, offers or grants such college degrees as a B.S., B.A., MFA or Ph.D.

Other kinds of programs. Somewhat mysteriously named programs that defy intuitive understanding. And each with a name so long that creating an acronym seems almost as pointless as it is confusing. But is done, parenthetically, anyway.

Absent are any people to staff all the programs. Worker-bees, that is.

Perhaps that’s a sign of efficiency. Not only are we creative enough to invent all of these programs, the programs are so self-contained as to require no staff and only one person who will either supervise, direct or manage the program.

So, presumably, the manager manages herself, the supervisor supervises himself and the director directs him or herself.

Wonder how each does on their annual evaluation.

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