julia_beck: Rectangular cake with white frosting and yellow inscription "AO3= <3" (Default)
[personal profile] julia_beck
I feel very raw and sad today, so have some unpolished thoughts on two related things.

[personal profile] lim: apology and resignation

[personal profile] lucyp: Withdrawing from Board election

Related? How?

The common thread to me is individual responsibility, and the feeling of (expected, as in the case of Lucy, or perceived, in lim's case) failure.

No one person should have to shoulder this kind of burden.

High, unrealistic expectations for an organization are a-ok with me. Bring them on -- chances are that I share them. Criticism of the archive, of the current deploy? Necessary and justified, even. (Just...please remember that Support and coders are people working their asses off to make your experience better, ok?)

Inhuman expectations of perfection for an individual person? No. Never okay. I'm not saying that anyone expected this of lim but herself -- I don't know lim at all, either. But what I do know is that it wasn't her fault, and it hurts me to see herself taking on that blame.

That's what stewardship and mentoring are about, to me: making sure people don't get in over their heads. Making sure that the burden is spread out across several people, that the shock of criticism is absorbed by a collective [or the person who knowingly signed up for it (chairs, Board.)]

This is what connects this to Lucy, for me -- I don't think for a second that I would do a better job than Lucy. A slightly different, not less important one, but not better. No way. And Lucy says that the expectation for Board members for the next term are too challenging for her to balance with her life and responsibilities. Recusing herself is a smart and courageous choice then. But.

Even considering that her RL responsibilities are inarguably more serious than mine, it scares me. Because if this is too much for someone as capable, as amazing as Lucy, how can I think of taking on that ridiculous challenge?


...

My answer, for myself, at this moment, is that I refuse to take on this absurd burden of having to be perfect. Of working harder than anyone else, of funneling ALL my time into the organization -- in other words, to set myself up for utter failure. I just can't be that magical girl, and I sure as hell don't expect it of anyone else, either. I hurts me personally to see people being so hard on themselves -- first [personal profile] renay, now, awfully, [personal profile] lim.

If we expect an insane level of personal engagement from [insert: staffers/chairs/Board members], I despair of ever finding anyone else to take on the job. (raising my glass to anyone who expressed skepticism about chairs doubling as Board members right now omg.)

The crux is that this, too, is an aspect of sustainability. Instead of depending on the raw energy and enthusiasm of individual volunteers, let's develop better structures to distribute the burden, infrastructure to protect volunteers from feeling desperately inadequate. And this goes for Board too.

And... because I'm just me, not a superheroine, I already know that I will fail more than I will succeed. (Ahahaha will I ever. ... -_-;) There's just no way we can reform the organization to a degree, and at a pace, that will satisfy all our diverse stakeholders. [Seeing as I have a pretty good understanding of what I'm getting myself into -- trust me, all these ~shocking~ recent revelations about Board dynamics aren't exactly news to me.]

If I weren't certain that this awful mix of sadness/frustration/failure I'm feeling right now, and that I'm expecting to be feeling a LOT next year (either way this falls out)... if this wasn't ever-so-slightly offset by my belief that I can, somehow, effect actual progress, and do incrementally right by our volunteers and users... I would not have signed up for this.

I hope I'm not wrong.

Date: 2011-11-13 06:32 pm (UTC)
cypher: (fannish optimism!)
From: [personal profile] cypher
<3333

This is a good post and a thoughtful, realistic stance. I will be voting for you this week and I hope a lot of other people do too, so that you can be part of the TEAM that works on building this better support structure in the new term.

Thank you for looking at this mess and being willing to work on fixing it.

Date: 2011-11-13 06:34 pm (UTC)
teandthorazine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] teandthorazine
I am sure you're not wrong.
There's a lot of sad going around these days, and I'm sorry for all the people concerned. I've always been completely sure that you would do a great job on the Board, and this approach of not aiming for superhuman perfection is, I think, another confirmation.
I'm sending you a whole lot of (((hugs))) with a side of unconditioned support.
<3

Date: 2011-11-13 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] aruna7
I am 100% behind you and I thank you for your post and all the hard work you have been doing for the OTW. And I hope that you'll be on the Board.

None of us is perfect or inhuman, and I bow to you and all the others who do such amount of works. That's an inspiration for a fellow staffer, I can tell you.

*hugs*

Date: 2011-11-14 03:03 am (UTC)
unjapanologist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unjapanologist
If I weren't certain that this awful mix of sadness/frustration/failure I'm feeling right now, and that I'm expecting to be feeling a LOT next year (either way this falls out)... if this wasn't ever-so-slightly offset by my belief that I can, somehow, effect actual progress, and do incrementally right by our volunteers and users... I would not have signed up for this.

You can effect actual progress, I'm pretty sure of that. You have the skills, and massive numbers of people want you to effect progress, and want to make sure that you reach and stay in a position to actually do so. The new board (hopefully containing you) might feel like everybody is staring at them and having Expectations while they're looking up at a huge mountain of really difficult tasks. But I think people want to actively help make this progress happen, not just ogle the new board and complain when things don't go fast enough or right enough. People really, really want things to get better, and I hope the board will succeed in harnessing that energy.

All of this is pretty horrid just to watch, and I can't imagine what it must be like for the people who are actually feeling the feelings. But in a way, I'm also very glad to have a better idea of what's wrong and what I need to focus on to make sure this thing that I love will become a better thing than it is today.

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Julia Beck

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