Posts Tagged ‘Mick McMahon’

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty. 

In high school, my indefatigable math teacher, Mr. Sycz, informed me and the rest of his unsuspecting students that the majority of adult life is spent at work. As such, he wisely advised us to choose our careers carefully. What he failed to mention was that all those hours at work will be spent with other people. Regrettably, there is no way to select our coworkers; the only recourse is to cross your fingers. How fortunate, then, that I love both what I do and the people with whom I work.

I’ve always liked working cooperatively with others, a natural result of growing up with six siblings. At every job I’ve had in my 25 years of RMUILsealwork (Cowgill Printing, McDonald’s, Dimitri’s Restaurant, Mr. Todd’s Cleaners, Royalview Manor, First Community Village, The Courtyard, Country Counter, Dick’s Last Resort, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Cuyahoga Community College, Grafton Street Pub, Lakeland Community College, Academy at the Lakes, Hillsborough Community College, Harold Washington College, Columbia College, and RMU), I’ve met and worked with fantastic people who’ve helped make any work less tiresome. The same is true here at good ol’ RMU, where I have worked since arriving in Chicago in 2007.

My RMU colleagues are tremendous people, and we know each other incredibly well. Since my coworkers are diligent and dedicated teachers, I am already predisposed to like them and admire their efforts. They are all CLAwonderfully smart, too, of course, each in his or her unique way. Everyone I work with will stop to help a fellow teacher or student. Everyone will devote his or her expertise to our shared purpose: the endlessly worthwhile endeavor of education.

Most importantly, my co-workers at RMU, specifically the CLA members (many of them Turtle writers, too) are generous and thoughtful. What follows is just a small sampling of the everyday—but in no way ordinary—kindnesses my colleagues show to one another.

Paula provides lunch when Fridays involve the dreaded all-day meetings.

If there are cookies next to the coffee pot, they are probably courtesy of Turtle father Michael.

Jenny supplies us all with fresh vegetables from her considerable garden.

Pyle created the “cabinet of wonders,” a repository of free books, Cd’s, and DVD’s to share.

I’d be surprised to find a more sympathetic listener than Ellen.

Cynthia keeps the refrigerator stocked with fancy flavored creams to augment the free coffee.

Pat McNicholas brings homemade fudge every finals week.

Paul jots down the best zingers on his whiteboard to highlight the general goofiness in the CLA suite.

If Peter does anything, you can bet it will be done with “alacrity and aplomb.”

Like any good family, we endure each other’s idiosyncrasies, often turning flaws into perfections of a different kind. Mick tells the same Irish jokes every St. Patrick’s Day, year after year: how excruciatingly wonderful.

When my colleagues aren’t busy conducting research, planning curriculum, teaching classes, grading papers, or attending meetings, we can be found in the CLA office giggling like teenagers. We pretend that we are in a workplace sitcom called “RMU Kiddin’ Me.” We’re all certain the show would be hilarious, of course, which illustrates my good fortune in both terms of my job and my coworkers.

There is nothing quite as delightful as laughing at work, something I enjoy every single day. The funniest line or exchange will be added to Paul’szipper white board. If a joke is too inappropriate, it is designated as “Invisible Whiteboard” material and will remain a joke amongst ourselves.


Paul, “I’ll send you the ZIP file.”

Me, “I can never remember how to unzip things.”

Paul, “Then how do you get dressed in the morning?”

Insert the cutesy sitcom title here.

By Mick McMahon, English Faculty.

How do you feel right now? Comfortable, I hope. How did you get this way? Did you have a long productive day at work and now have the chance to unwind? Did you spend a number of hours researching and drafting a paper for school and just handed in the work confident you will earn an A? Did you just run a marathon and now icing down while reading this Turtle post? Whatever the task completed, large or small, congratulations! You just completed something important and, even though you may feel exhausted, you most likely feel quite good about yourself.

Now, I’d like you to think about how you felt before undertaking that task. Did you stress? Were you a bit fearful of the unknown? Or did you charge in, head first, with reckless abandon, knowing that whatever the outcome, you did your best? Maybe this sounds familiar.

Often times, I stress about things that I have little control over: getting caught in the rain, having a heart-attack out of the blue while exercising, the apocalypse (thanks a lot Hollywood). I generate unwarranted anxiety that leads to inaction and excuses, and end up stalling and stressing instead of acting. And folks, I’m not the only one. We’ve all made up a few excuses at one time or another. Sometimes, we end up focusing a tremendous amount of energy on stressing about the task, instead of channeling that energy into the actual task itself.



So what creates anxiety? It can be several things, but the one characteristic that stands out to me is the unknown. Think about your first day of high school or college. Maybe you felt a bit nervous, because you didn’t know what to expect. Compare that feeling to how you felt during your senior year of high school or college. Even though you were exhausted, you probably felt a lot more comfortable because you went through experiences. It’s how we traverse the unknown that helps us learn about ourselves, and what we find out, whether good or bad, makes us unique and wonderful individuals.

What you now read before you was weeks, nay, several months in the making. Ask my colleagues sometime about the excuses that I came up with as to why I haven’t written Turtle posts. Most likely they all lead up to me having to walk my dog. The plain truth is that I was anxious about sending out the perfect bit of writing into the universe. So, I lay my discomfort before you now. Will you say, what on earth is he talking about? Is he crazy? Perhaps, but I will learn about myself and my writing by sending this post out to the world.

So, while comfortable is good, uncomfortable can be even better, for it helps us learn the truth about ourselves, and makes the beer taste so much better.