On why obedience was survival

They hired three people and gave us difficult circumstances. Soon our question each day was this: what will we find we have done, in the normal course of doing our jobs and also attempting to create conditions in which our jobs can even be done as specified, that will turn out to have offended the instructors (who had hoped to be promoted to professor because of seniority) in some truly mortal way — what will we find we have done wrong just by being who we are? And they voted on us and outnumbered us, so it was serious, and had friends in the administration, so it was more serious.

We started to do less and less because this was a survival strategy but even so, only I am left standing. Then one of the departed was replaced, but the new one got walking papers soon, and the same reason. I keep thinking it must be me, it must be only I who succumbed to this situation, because it sounds so odd that it must be the figment of someone’s imagination or a projection from my own prior traumas which it also was, for me. Then I remember how many other people also wrangled with this.


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