ever since i started working here on the oed i’ve been trying to put my finger on the way they treat me and my fellow research assistants. we are treated differently from the rest – there is something in their tone when they address us or refer to us that implies something …
and today i finally saw it – we are peons! haha!
i think a lot of it is to do with our title. “research assistant”. if we were “researchers” then it’d be different. the term has more clout, it would make it sound as if we do something more definite and fulfill a needed function! but “research assistant”, its like an apprentice…
and thats how we are referred to, sort of like apprentices. you know “lesser than”, “not quite fully fledged oed people”, almost in a very kindly patronizing way, which i don’t take offence to at all. it is, after all, what we are.
i think i was just surprised and didn’t expect it. i didn’t expect that severe status gap. i have a degree and had been teaching for 5 years and though i am part-time and not specifically qualified for this work, i am pretty well suited to it – so it surprised me that we were treated that way.
but then this is rather highly specialised work and at the end of the day i am not specifically qualified for it.
what also illustrated the gap was how long it took people to be friendly to us here – at first i felt rather invisible. the first few days people didn’t even greet me when i arrived and left. they only reluctantly said “hi” when i caught their eye and greeted them first. but now they’re all friendly to me, which is nice. i’ve been here long enough, i guess.
one also has to consider the culture in the oed. its deathly quiet in here…! and the people here are rather reserved for the most part. they seldom have a little chat in the office or wander over to each others’ desks and have a friendly word – except for me, of course! ha! i can’t just sit here in front of the computer all day – i have to get up up and share a thought with someone. perhaps they’re just a lot more focused on their jobs than i am!! 🙂 they did say, in the interview, that they were worried if i’d be able to handle a job which meant that i would be mostly confined to my desk all day…
but, as i said at the top of this post, i finally realised that i am a peon! and i love it. i mean, who wouldn’t want to be a peon? peons are so cute!
and i just love the way they say “okey dokey!”. awww… thats so cute. they’re so willing 🙂
for those of you that don’t know what peons are, they’re the generic mineral gatherers in warcraft.
for those that don’t know warcraft, or strategy games, … well, lets just say: you have to build an army, but in order to eat and build things you need to farm and collect minerals, and each strategy game has little guys who do that job. if you’re curious you can check out the game here
i love strategy games – i really enjoy building my little village or base and then building units. i sometimes wish i could be a little worker in that base, doing one of those little tasks – or go and fight. hooha! (but not die, of course). i also like trying to hold on to one particular unit (which is hard, because they’re all dispensible, really) to make it feel like he/she has a life. or other times (especially in games where the appearance of the people doesn’t change much from unit to unit) i imagine that the little gatherer guys graduate to more important roles and then further on from there.
thats sort of how i’m thinking about my role here at the moment. i’m a peon now and, eventually, if i’m a good little peon, i’ll graduate to a grunt:
and then maybe a raider!
but for the moment i’m a little peon, which is cool – i like being a busy little peon!