When I arrived at work this morning after the longish holiday weekend, I was immediately pulled aside by the dean who told me that I had to be more proactive. “What!!,” I said. He said, “It’s pretty clear. You just need to be more proactive.” I said, “I’d be happy to more proactive if you could tell me what the hell that word even means.” He seemed surprised. I asked if he meant proactive as the opposite of reactive. “That is correct,” he said.
I asked the dean if he would mind being more specific. He raised his eyebrows, both of them. I said, “I really don’t believe there is any difference at all between proactive and reactive. Everything is always a reaction to something. So if one is proactive in one thing, it is simply a reaction to another thing. It’s the law of the universe. And it’s not my fault if people at this institution refuse to acknowledge that law.
The dean responded that this was completely irrelevant to what he was saying.
Finally, I said, “Just tell me how you want me to be, and I’ll be it.” And then I added to “I am being as proactive as I possibly can be. And if you expect someone who is more proactive, perhaps we should part ways.”
Perhaps I was being proactive after all …