The employee structure in academic institutions tends to be an odd mix. Odd in that there are essentially three components, all with very different goals. The most familiar is likely the faculty, who are there to teach and do research in varying proportions. There is also the administration, which I would define as former academics who have taken an administrative, rather than research-oriented career trajectory. Finally, the staff are there to make sure everything gets done.
The relationships between these groups can range form outright adversarial to synergistic (administration buzzword!) and I think it is most common to hear about the interactions that go badly. It's true that we tend to write more about the frustrations we face than the small victories thought the day. But at the end of the day there are those outside of our peer group we have to place our trust in to do the tasks we are not equipped to do.
From my perspective, and especially as I was first learning* how this place works, having a couple of dependable staff members in my college who just get things done has been one of the most important and useful things I could ask for. Their jobs are critical to my success and their willingness to go out of their way to be helpful has made my life infinitely easier as a result.
I think most people reading probably know or work with at least one person like this and all I would ask is that you not take them for granted and recognize their efforts in any way you can. It is easy to lose sight of the difference helpful staff can make when you get used to it, but as someone who has faced their share of clock-punchers, I will always find the time to thank someone for doing their job well.
*This process continues, but I'm less stupid these days.
1 day ago