Authored by: Angela G. BehrendSenior Research AdministratorUniversity of Virginia
We all know them. The super-meticulous research administrators who take their work, and themselves, very seriously. They take pride in always being right, and will debate the nuances of the regulations until they wear everyone else out just to have the last word. They never make a joke or laugh when someone else does. These folks tend to be good at their jobs but a bit tiresome to work with.
In my first job as a research administrator, I was in a very large lab with lots of scholars. One was a physician on a research fellowship who had a big personality and loved practical jokes. With Tom around you never knew what you might happen upon, whether he’d be dissecting a huge rat when you stopped by the lab, or taking blood out of his own arm for a control sample right there in the middle of his office. He kept us all on our toes! Tom always said, “We have to spend so much of our lives at work, if we can’t have fun, what’s the point?”
I’ve remembered that lesson my entire career. Our work is serious, but it is so important to find a little joy along the way. Laughing at the crazy and absurd situations we find ourselves in is my best trick for avoiding burnout. OK, so I have an odd sense of humor, but it works for me. So please, take time to find the humor in what you do. Smile, make a joke, point out some crazy regulation you just read, and laugh out loud. Your co-workers will thank you.