Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Just over 20 years ago I was coming close to the end of my first term at the University of Nottingham, majoring in English and Classics. The weeks of university life had slid by in a blur of lecture-avoiding friend-making crisp-eating sociability.
Some bits I liked, some bits I didn't.
Life on a campus university seemed kind of lame after growing up in the red brick metropolis of Manchester; the English department seemed all about grammar and post-modernism and people played rugby. Also, Southerners. Lots of Southerners from alien places like Kent and Bedfordshire. Eighteen year old me wondered if I should have gone to Leeds. I didn't know then that some of those Southerners would end up being friends for life.
And despite all the above there was always the Classics department. The wonderful, tatty, eccentric Classics department, presided over with constant welcome by the ever present Adrienne and comprising some of the world's most fabulous academics (who could ever forget Prof. Sommerstein announcing the meaning of rhaphanidosis in clarion tones?) - and a lot of goths.
When finals drew near, I started to experience a sense of panic that I hadn't squeezed everything I could out of this best-days-of-your-life experience. So I stayed on, pursuing my very real love of Ancient Greek drama for another year, working in a way I hadn't for the previous three.
Then I left. London beckoned with its gold-paved streets and tube stop parties. Those university days were quickly forgotten - merely a stepping stone to adult life. Plus, Classics aside, I hadn't been that bothered about Nottingham anyway. After all, guys wore shiny shoes to the indie clubs there. Just not right.
Between then and now I must have moved house about fifteen times. My parents moved house too. If it wasn't for the fact that my chosen career was fundraising - and much of that in the higher education sector - I could well have severed all ties with my alma mater. But professional curiosity stopped me (it's always handy to see what other Development Offices are doing).
I updated my contact details and left it there.
But Nottingham didn't.
Friday, 20 November 2015
Is it really three years since I wrote about being mentally bludgeoned with Chinese medicine, the plight of the tigers and goddamnit more tigers in what might well be the world's worst fundraising phone call?
Yes, yes it is.
And in that time the fundraising world has spun on its axis and ended up teetering precariously like a dirty dish on the edge of a sink piled high with crockery (alright, I'm looking at my own kitchen right now).
Well, as it happens it must have been time for an upgrade because a couple of weeks ago I got that phone call again. From the very same charity that REALLY WANTED TO TALK ABOUT TIGERS. A bit of me was impressed by their confidence. I feel like applauding that charity for daring to call anyone in the midst of the welter of fundraising angst we've all been negotiating. But the resentment from that earlier phone call lingers.
I don't want to talk to them. Ever.
"Hello, I'm calling on behalf of [insert name]. Have you got a minute to talk?"