The first week I arrived here I met my HOD (Head of Department) as well as other key individuals in the Faculty (i.e. College). My HOD had recently been promoted to his position and was getting ready to move from his old office into his new HOD office. During our first meeting he showed me his old/my new office. It was a disaster. There is a professor back in Texas who has been there longer than I have been alive (true story). And I am quite confident he has never thrown anything away during that time. When you enter his office you have to stand because every chair has a mountain of papers on it and you don’t want to risk throwing a wrench into his finely tuned filing system. This is what my HOD’s old/my new office looked like. But he told me not to worry because he would have someone clean it out for me. “It should be ready by Monday.” I felt sorry for “someone.”The following week I arrived on campus, picked up my office key and amazingly it was spotless. There wasn’t a single thing in the room except for a desk. No stray pencil or paperclip. And no chair for me, or anyone else for that matter, to sit in. I figured it must have been an oversight, so I asked the HOD about the chair. He said he didn’t know what happened to it. Keep in mind there are six chairs in his new office. And he didn’t give me a suggestion as to how to commandeer my own. The HR manager seemed to be an immediate fan of mine as he had spent some time in Texas. He told me when we met that if there was anything I needed, anything at all, to come to him and he would take care of it. So I went to him asking for a chair. He had five chairs in his office and a couch! But he could not direct me where to find a chair for my office either. After playing this charade with the department secretary, the Associate Dean and the security officer in the building (Block 245) I gave up.
I began brainstorming ideas for how to procure a chair, thinking perhaps I would have to purchase one myself. But I quickly realized there were chairs (and desks) in the corridors of my building which students would use during time between classes. After careful consideration I decided to make my move. On Friday I took a chair, but it wasn’t an appropriate chair to use at a desk or with a computer. Once I got it down to my office I realized it was useful for students who were visiting, but would make me a hunchback and was very uncomfortable to use for hours. Monday morning I found another chair in need of a home (in my office). I realize this is beginning to sound a lot like Goldilocks and the Three Bears because this chair wasn’t right either. But hey! Now I could have two students in my office at the same time and they wouldn’t have to stand, looming over me.This morning I went on an extensive hunt and eventually found a chair that was “just right.” I was bringing it down the three flights of stairs to my office, I could see the finish line and then… I got caught! The faculty members in my building seldom show up in the morning. I am often the only person there until close to 10am, so I had been making these early morning chair excursions unnoticed. But apparently this morning my Dean and all the other administrators in the college had an early morning meeting.
There I was, red handed, holding this chair which I knew I wasn’t supposed to have and there was nowhere to hide or stash the chair. The Dean asked what I was doing, and I explained my chair dilemma. (One thing I should note is that all the chairs were broken. Apparently, when I chair is damaged they move it out into the common areas and let the students use them. Sounds like a liability issue to me, but I’m not in charge here.) I pointed out the chairs were broken, and that ultimately, they were being used by students when they were in my office. But that it was very difficult for me to use an office with a desk but no chair.In the end he didn’t offer to give me a working chair. Instead he said, “Well, ok. Just make sure you return it when you are finished. And don’t hurt yourself.”