O-Week has started on monday, and results have been pretty good so far. We signed up about 50 members so far, which is pretty good considering what an obscure game baduk is. Last year, we signed up a lot more than that, but that was because we were signing up basically anyone who passed by whether they wanted to or not. There’s not much point to getting members who won’t actually show up to play, so this year, we’ve been trying to focus more on students who display a minimum amount of interest.
From the Introduction to Go (Baduk) Workshop on Tuesday, it seems that all the hard work last year was paying off. A lot of students found us through our internet presence and word of mouth, which means that the social media campaign I launched last year has had a positive effect. We also had twice as many people at the workshop (a solid 20 at least), and these people just kept on playing and wanted to know when we would be meeting next. I haven’t played much baduk over the past few months– mostly against AI opponents. But playing humans has rekindled my interest– as a newly promoted 6kyu, I’m getting close to the level of [SiB], who taught me how to play, who is a 4kyu. A showdown is inevitable…
The organisational structure of the club is slightly different this year, since I modified the club’s constitution last semester. For one thing, we have more executive positions to spread out the work. This was a good idea, and it’ll take the burden off of me, and hopefully streamline the tasks. I mentioned in a previous post that one of the Executives was giving me trouble– the O-Week Coordinator. Well, last night, I sent him a message telling him to give me a call. After asking him why he’s been so difficult to communicate with lately, and where he thought we should go from here, I asked him politely to resign from his position. “I can’t force you to resign, obviously. But looking at what you’ve accomplished, and what you know your responsibilities were, do you think the way you’ve done things is the way the coordinator should have done them?”
He sounded a little surprised, but in the end, agreed to resign. Which saves me one headache– if he didn’t resign, I would have called a general meeting and had him removed by special resolution (a vote of no-confidence). Being the clever person that I am, during my revision of the constitution last year, I put in clauses that made it easier to remove someone who wasn’t doing their job if ever it became necessary.
It might sound like I’m proud of myself for being able to “fire” someone. On one hand, yes I am. I feel like I’m a bit more mature now, or something. It’s not like I was belligerant or disrepectful– in fact, the whole process of asking him to resign was, in my opinion, very professional. I gave him the chance to explain himself, I asked him what he thought we expected of him. I set out the situation, and explained how the logical conclusion was for me to ask him to resign.
But at the same time, I’m a bit saddened by this. I’m no stranger to workplace politics– people get in trouble, people get sent to other departments, people get fired all the time. People just dissapear, and work goes on. But that’s the world of paid work– when it comes to a club, run with volunteer fuel, it’s sad when people who come together because they’re passionate about something have to feel the bluntness of beaureaucracy. I don’t feel bad about firing the guy– I feel bad that having a guy like him means that, if people can’t put in energy for clubs that they sign up for for fun, what do you think will be the final product when they become productive members of society? Do a marxist interpretation of the situation and the result is quite bleak.
I like watching people around me thrive, and it’s a big high for me to feel that I’m a part of a process that makes people find some direction in their lives. But when people demonstrate that my influence on their life has just been to be the bad guy, who has to lecture them, who has to fire them for being a lazy ass– they have failed, but at the same time, it means I’ve failed to a certain degree.
I’m not responsible for everyone’s choices in life, but I do wish that people would get their shit together because I don’t like dealing with people who don’t.
At the end of the day– O-Week is already halway over. The hardest part was actually the last two weeks leading up to O-Week, the time during which that guy (the Coordinator) was really slow to organise, respond and basically do what he was supposed to do. So firing him doesn’t really serve any purpose– the damage has already been done.
No purpose, except, to set an example. I think the surprise for him was that he was being asked to resign– he thought he would, like in the past year, get a slap on the wrist for just doing whatever he wanted. Last year, he was our student union liason– a position which he did the bare minimum for. He wouldn’t have even become the O-Week Cordinator for this year in the first place if I had had my way. Can you believe that he was running for Vice-President of the club? The problem is that he’s a friendly guy and is well liked by a lot of people– so he got the job because democracy.
Some of the things that he failed to do were basically communicate with us. I sent him emails, text messages, voice mails and whatever for the month leading up to O-Week to see what our strategy was going to be this year. Most of those messages went ignored, and those that were answered were only because I managed to catch him live. Not only did he not attend any of the Student Union meetings which he was supposed to hand in, he handed in forms late (which almost had us barred from having an O-Week stall altogether); he handed in a half assed description of our workshop (resulting in us having a disastrously boring advertissment of a prime space and time event); he just didn’t show up for a shift he was responsible for; etc… ETC… E-T-C.
There are many people in the world who you could say are “nice people” and you would hardly be able to pin “maliciousness” as one of their character traits. But it doesn’t change the fact that some people let you down, and that you can’t always ignore it and move on. I hope that he felt embarassed or ashamed of himself when the reality of my request kicked in. The only reason why I bothered to fire him was because I wanted the rest of the club executives, and members know, that yes, we run this club for fun– but we take our fun seriously, and don’t fuck with something that we love. Sure it’s a board game– but if you extend yourself as taking on responsibilities, then do what you’re responsible for.
See exhibit A, hanging from the castle ramparts.
I hope he learns something from this.