I've been attempting to write this post for several weeks. I've learned a lot so far in my new job, I have also come across a lot of problems, concerns, and issues (for me personally and for the office/program I work in). The main one that stuck out in December was language.
We don't normally pay a lot of attention to the language we use, until we're in a new environment. I guess it's like getting dressed for work. At the restaurant I had to wear specific pants and specific shirts, wore a similar underwear everyday, black socks, and restaurant shoes. When I interviewed, I put on nice clothes and nice pants, just like I used professional language in the interview. Before I started my new position I asked what dress code was like and while I still dressed up, jeans are generally acceptable.
The language in my department is the opposite of my professional training. The people paying for an education? "Students", or in my department: "kids". I hated being called a kid while in college. It reminded me of being in high school, where the adults made all of the decisions. I paid for school, I worked two jobs my junior and senior years. As a student I worked in an administrative office, where everyone called students "kids". No, buddy, I was an adult and I expected to be treated as such.
The other word that was used a lot in December was "break". Now, I know I have it good. I was paid to not work for a specific number of days. At my institution, staff had one week (and one day) of paid holiday. Faculty members and students have three weeks without classes, meaning most of the faculty members in my department stopped coming to campus after their last day of class, or even canceled their last class before break. There were a few exceptions, as is expected, but most planned to have a full three weeks away from campus. In conversations most referenced these three weeks, with no clue that there were people with different schedules.
There is also a change coming up for us that will affect faculty teaching loads. Now, those conversations made me laugh (silently, of course). But are probably for a post in the future.