Blog Tour: Hire Idiots, by Prof. I.M. Nemo @foxspiritbooks #damppebblesblogtours #HireIdiots #Extract

Hello friends!

Today I’m taking part in the Blog Tour for “Hire Idiots” by Prof. I.M. Nemo, which is available now. I have an extract to share.

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About the book:

‘This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to the living or the dead is purely coincidental and ought to make you ashamed at the comparison.’


Unfortunately, the murder may get lost in the confusion of new vice presidents, marketers, focus groups, assessors and protestors as the administration tries to make education profitable. There’s no time for mystery!

Professor Clarence Van Dyke finds himself bewildered by the changes, but determined to get to the bottom of the killing. He wants his friend to rest in peace – or perhaps he just wants to spend more time with the attractive Detective Riordan. But isn’t he the primary suspect?

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Extract: The Administrator

Happy Winter looked around her office with a queer mixture of pride and fear. The clean white walls seemed to tower above her like castle ramparts Her long desk was neatly set with her blotter, black leather notebook, the sleek black phone and her one concession to whimsy: the antique ink well that she had picked up at an estate sale for a very minor Vanderbilt.

The meeting seemed to have gone well and the audience while surprised—the COO had warned her they might be a little—didn’t seem as hostile as she feared they might. It was a new phase for Happy’s career: CAO to the COO. She hadn’t quite got over reading the acronyms as sounds but as she said them out loud in the echo of her over-large office, the animal noises rang hollowly. It gave her the feeling that she was being taunted.

Standing stock still she listened. There was no one else around in the admin building as far as she could tell. The COO was downtown, meeting with some local business group. She had heard all the secretaries go out at five in a noisy bunch together. Perhaps they all went out for a drink on some nights. Happy missed the days when she had friends.

She could use a friend just then.

To put away that thought she decided to unpack the last box. It could easily wait until tomorrow but there might be things she had to actually do tomorrow so there wouldn’t be the quiet hours like today. She did her best not to spend the day on Facebook, especially after the cheery ‘First day in the new position!’ post, telling everyone how she was going to be busy busy busy.

But there had been nothing to do today but to wait for the meeting announcing her arrival. The president, er, COO had been so busy with the Board that she hadn’t had time to sit down for the promised get-acquainted chat together. Happy had been left to her own devices. She made short work of most of the boxes of journals and books. It was a way to make the office look homey and her own accomplishments visible.

The diplomas, after some thought, she put behind the desk. If she was talking to someone they would be able to look up and see her expertise in nicely framed order. Surely that would inspire confidence. Happy turned to look at them now. All they seemed to be saying to her now was ‘imposter!’ She swallowed.

I am not an imposter, it’s just a syndrome. She had read up on the phenomenon all day, which at least kept her from giving in to the temptation to post on social media and break her cover. Apparently many women like her suffered from the same phenomenon. According to the articles she read, they tended to underestimate their accomplishments and hide behind modesty. Happy couldn’t help wondering if instead of imposter syndrome she really was just an imposter, but she decided to do her best to believe that she was as competent as she pretended. Like her subdued suit, she hoped there was a general impression of calm confidence.

Had they been able to tell how much her heart fluttered in her chest as she addressed all those faces? Happy was accustomed to addressing groups, but this had been rather different. Those faces had looked altogether shocked by the COO’s brisk announcements and not at all comforted by her own placating words. It was her habit to try to be as bland and non-committal as possible. Don’t box yourself into a corner: that was the lesson of her administrative years. Avoid provoking anger: that was the lesson of her family life. Keep the peace at any price. It required a certain amount of selective deafness and blindness, too.

It might be necessary for her job here.

Happy sighed and put some knick knacks on the shelf opposite her desk. They were generally inoffensive, gathered from various trips hither and yon. Most of her travel had been connected to academic conferences; now it was all to administrator conferences, as she tried to fill in the necessary areas of expertise that had not been part of her studies.

Her job as provost at Mercy, the tiny women’s college, had been all right at first. The position was a big step up from being a dean, which wasn’t too different from being a department chair. The outgoing provost had helped with the transition and left a clear calendar of things to do, so it was easy to pick up the thread of things and continue on. Happy had gained confidence from knowing that she could follow the lesson plan, as it were. She had almost got to the stage of trying new things and would have been happy enough to stay in that position until retirement.

Until Georgia Moxley came along and swept her up in the whirlwind of change. They had met at one of those administrative conferences and she had been quite bowled over by the woman.

Moxley spoke with the verve of a Baptist preacher—or at least what she imagined to be a Baptist preacher as they had not had many of them where she grew up in Wisconsin. Education, Georgia said, needed to be transformed. Faculty had grown lazy and complacent. Students ought to have their needs addressed. All they really wanted was a job. Why teach them all these esoteric topics outmoded by all the changes in the real world?

The thought had frightened Happy. As a faculty member she had taught education technology courses. Technology changed so quickly these days that she lived in fear of not being able to learn one more new thing. No sooner had she mastered some new writing software then they wanted her to use some kind of classroom management software that employed a completely different system altogether and made no sense to her kind of logic.

She couldn’t keep up.

Administration had been a relief. All at once she no longer had to compete. Instead she kept track of other people’s progress and evaluated their competition. It was like teaching in a way: she chivvied the ones who fell behind and rewarded the ones who succeeded the assigned benchmarks. The ‘grading’ of their efforts, such as it was, turned out to be much simpler because the faculty had to assess their own progress and do most of the work. She only had to sign off on the forms. And it was easy to give them the rubrics, too. Everybody was assessing these days, so it was just a matter of asking around to find out what other campuses were doing. Sometimes they even let her take a copy of their forms. With a few changes to personalize them, the forms could be put to use very quickly.

Assessment was a god-send. It could keep faculty busy indefinitely.


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