Thursday, 1 February 2018

'The Triumphant Demi-God'

A research administrator in action (photo: Tilemahos Efthimiadis, CC BY 2.0)

ARMA HQ. Hamish MacHamish is flicking through proofs of the Association's newsletter, 'Newsletter of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators'.

H MacH: Stephanie! Stephanie!
Stephanie MacBales (for it is she): Yes Hamish?
H MacH: I've been reading the new newsletter.
S MacB: Isn't it wonderful! Some excellent articles this term.
H MacH: Yes, yes. Very good. The only trouble is, well, the name.
S MacB: What's wrong with it? It says exactly what it is: 'Newsletter of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators'.
H MacH: Well there's no denying that.
S MacB: What more do you want?
H MacH: Well we're a thrusting new professional organisation now. We've got guiding principles. We've got a Strategic Plan and Implementation Framework. It's got five key pillars. Not four, not six. Five. Which I believe is just the right number. We need a thrusting new title to reflect that!
S MacB: Okay, I see your point. How about...'Association of Research Managers and Administrators' Newsletter'?
H MacH: Stephanie, Stephanie. You're not getting this, are you? David? David?
David MacCoombe (for it is he): Hamish?
H MacH: I was just saying to MacBales, I think we need a new title for the newsletter.
D MacC: What's wrong with the 'Newsletter of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators'?
H MacH: It's just not...not very five pillars is it?
D MacC: True. Yes. How about...'The Five Pillars of Wisdom'?
H MacH: I like it! It's got a Laurence of Arabia ring to it, doesn't it? Which is, of course, what all research administrators aspire to be.
S MacB: Hmm. I don't know. It feels...well, a little far from what we do. I mean, when was the last time any of us took part in an insurrection, blew up railways and walked across the desert?
D MacC: Okay. I take your point. How about: 'The Linchpin'? After all, I think we can all agree that we're the most important people on campus.
H MacH: Well, true, true. Though 'linchpin' suggests we're just a small, albeit crucial, piece of machinery. You'd be saying that we're small disposable bits of bent metal.
S MacB: (slowly getting into the idea) How about...'The Heroes'? I don't think that's overselling us.
H MacH: It's good. But then, there are the chocolates with the same name. And I believe there's a warning on the packet that says they 'may contain nuts.' Could get confusing.
D MacC: I know! How about...'The Protagonist'?
H MacH: It's got a certain ring...but won't people think, well, we're a little pretentious? Or possibly have an over-inflated idea of ourselves? I mean the protagonist is the main character in a story. I'm not sure we could claim that about ourselves. Aren't we meant to be here to serve and support the academic community?
D MacC: Yes. Yes, that's true. We need to be more accurate. 'The Bit Player'? 'The Walk On'? 'The Expendable?'
S MacB: This is heresy! We're not secondary characters! We're professionals now! We're all professionals, and we need a title that reflects that. I'm thinking possibly 'The Demi-God'. Maybe 'The Conqueror.' Or even 'The Valiant Conqueror'. 'The Victorious Champion'? 'The Triumphant Demi-God'?
Stunned silence. Hamish MacHamish and David MacCoombe look at each other.
H MacH: Right. Let's stick with 'The Protagonist'. Okay, on to other business. Any luck with getting Anton du Beke back to host INORMS this year?
D MacC: No, he's not answering our calls.
S MacB: What if you leave a message saying you're a Triumphant Demi-God looking for a favour?
H MacH: Stephanie?
S MacB: Yes?
H MacH: Let it go.

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