So I know I promised you a recruitment post earlier this week. But something profound (at least I think it is) has been rolling around inside of my head, that I figured I would share it.
Last week, I watched “The Dark Knight Returns Part 1.” If you haven’t watched Warner Brothers’ adaptation of Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns Part 1, you are really missing out. These are probably some of the finest animated Batman movies ever made. Ever. Seriously. They do an amazing job at adapting Frank Miller’s classic graphic novel, and it comes perfectly on the heels of the Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s fine wrap up of his trilogy. Dark Knight Returns is rated PG-13, so it is not for children. For those of you who may not know the story, it basically is what happens after Batman retires because he is too old. It’s been ten years since Batman last appeared (Christopher Nolan anyone?) but the legend of Batman continues. Things have gotten so bad, Batman struggles on whether to come out of retirement or not. It is worth reading the graphic novel – and it certainly is worth watching the movie.
Recently, as an Assistant Director, I have had to struggle on whether to “come out” of retirement on different things. There are things I miss about being an RD at times. The closeness of relationship with residents and RAs, the “being in charge” of a program and seeing it run successfully. You know – the parts of your job as an RD you LOVE doing. The stuff you would volunteer for (as opposed to the stuff you realize why you are getting paid).
I have been removed as a live-in professional for over five years now. As Assistant Director, my focus is on the development of the Resident Directors and Assistant Resident Directors (and the professional staff). Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE developing up and coming staff. I wouldn’t go back for the world. But sometimes – sometimes – I miss the programs, the day to day stuff.
There are times I “want” to come out of retirement. I see someone struggling with a program and I know if I just jumped in, I could make it happen, and make it happen well. You see, I am a fairly decent event/program planner. I love involving others in planning my programs. As an RA, I ALWAYS had residents help me plan programs out. I think this is where I developed my desire to work collaboratively instead of by myself. But that’s another blog for another time. But now, I need to step aside and let OTHERS shine in their programming efforts. But I debate myself constantly as to when is the time to jump in, and when is the time to let the “new” Batmen make some mistakes that could help them learn.
You see, I am no longer “Batman: Year one.” I made many mistakes as a young Res Life Professional – the time I forced an RA to choose the job over her family early on in my career (ugh), the times I “blurred” the line between professional and para-professional (double ugh). The times I forgot to confirm with the presenter of the program and they didn’t show up. The times I forgot to reserve the room I advertised my program in, only to get there and realize someone else was using it. I have made my share of mistakes. But I have learned dearly from them.
And now it’s time for me to let the next generation of Batmen have their turn. For me to step aside. I struggle constantly to not micro-manage. I will often error on the side of too hands off than risk getting my hands on and micro managing something. But there was something in “The Dark Knight Returns” that sparked within me a new tactic. Maybe it isn’t an all or nothing proposition? One of the main points of the Dark Knight Returns is the return of Robin. Maybe instead of debating on whether I step in or let the Batmen run things, I might choose a few projects to lead, and allow someone to “shadow me” like Batman did with Robin. I hadn’t considered THAT tactic before. I don’t know if it has fully sunk in yet, but I think I may look for opportunities to bring along a Robin…