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Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I've been thinking about my experiment to let students collaborate to make policies. I think one of the reasons is actually a check on myself. There's a huge responsibility teaching to make sure things are fair for everyone. As the instructor, it's on me. I can't pass the buck. I'm the one accountable. Moreover, chaos can't rule. No policies allow for exploitation and inequal treatment. With friends and lawyers in law (and having done my own share of research) the reasons for law is to order society and protect its citizens. It has to be done.
But at the same time, there's that temptation. There's that itch that simply says make the rules to benefit me. When it comes to contract negotiations, people vie for what benefits them the most. It's logical. We are, by nature, interested in ourselves first. As the person in power, it's very easy for me to simply declare things that are most beneficial to me under the guise of what is fair to all. I don't want to be that person. I know Machiavelli said it's better to be feared than loved, but that caveat at the end pokes at me. It's important not to become hated. It's easy for people who to turn an eye of hatred against those who are heavy-handed in their authority.
We've all been subject to that authoritarian hand, too. There are policies that employers have that benefit them over that of the employees. I've been subject to some of those in my professional career, and many of them are lousy. That's it. They're lousy. And I'm reaching a point that I'm becoming selective about employer policies.
Policies convey messages. They convey more than simply the letter of the limits the proscribe. They speak about the author of such policies, and describe the type of people that make them. They send the message about what kind of people you will be working with. I've run into policies in both my teaching career and writing career that speak to me about the people out there, and I've already begun avoiding those institutions whose policies speak to the types of people I know I would not work well with.
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