Category: badges

On badges

By , 1 February 2008 7:45 pm

About 18 months ago, suddenly, without any warning, the college where I work issued us all with name badges, complete with barcode and not terribly good picture. We hang them around our necks with a ribbon with a special easy snap link so that, should students wish to do us harm, we cannot be throttled by our own name badges. I hasten to add this is an extremely rare and even unlikely occurrence; we count ourselves fortunate (I hope we do) because it is very rare indeed for students even to shout at members of staff.

I have decided that I am distinctly ambiguous about my badge. On the one hand, it gives me a sense of belonging. We dress very informally so this is the only thing we have that’s like a uniform. It says to anyone who comes in that I am a member of the college and not a parent, a tradesman or workman. In troubled times it is also a useful security measure and I suppose, in a small way, it gives us some sort of esprit de corps. It is also useful with a number of new teachers who frankly look so young that I might otherwise be tempted to mistake them for students.

And yet, I am also uneasy about my name badge. This was brought home to me this evening when coming in, laden with marking, at a quarter to five I found that almost the first thing I did was go upstairs and take my badge off. I found this interesting: Monday to Thursday evenings, I don’t seem to have too much of a problem with a badge and sometimes my wife has to remind me to take it off before a Bible study. But on Friday nights, even if I have to work in the evening, I feel it is essential to get rid of the badge. I have no doubt there have been deep and penetrating studies done on badges and their significance but my feeling is that we see such a badge as a mark of ownership branded on us by someone else. The weekends I see as my own, and so here I reject any subliminal claims that I belong to my employer during this time. I would imagine those people who wear uniforms must feel something similar; the need to get out of them. There is something proprietorial about wearing the badge of one’s employer.

My difficulty is that I cannot decide whether, spiritually (and surely this is the key point) my unease about the badge is a good thing or a bad thing. Is my wish to separate myself from my employer a good thing (a measure of the freedom I have in Christ? an unease about anything hinting at the Mark of the Beast?) or a bad one (my selfish and sinful desire for independence rearing its ugly head?)? How can I tell the difference?

Quickly, some other news. During February, a Christian fiction site is running me as the blog author of the month and we are hoping that this is the little push that will start the snowball rolling on the slope of fame. Mind you, things are already moving, my Facebook Lamb among the Stars fan group now has 96 names on it (and most look sane! :-) ). This week alone, I have had a request for a website interview and a separately blog site asking for review copies of the books. Well, we will see: I have been in the writing game too long to build my hopes up too much. Indeed, the measure of fame and following that I currently enjoy is probably more than I might have expected.

Blessings one and all.

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