From the OED:

Colleague: One who is associated with another (or others) in office, or special employment; strictly, said of those who stand in the same relationship to their electors, or to the office which they jointly discharge. (Not applied to partners in trade or manufacture.)

I’ve come to think of “colleague” as a more collegial relationship, per Weber State’s PPM (

A. Ethical Canons: As colleagues, faculty have obligations that derive from common membership in a community of scholars. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, they show due respect for the opinions of others. They acknowledge academic debts and strive to be objective in the professional judgment of colleagues. Faculty accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of the institution (based upon the AAUP Statement of Professional Ethics, 1966).

Recent interactions with a colleague (a hostile department meeting and complaints filed against each other) prompted my investigation into the concept of “colleague” and forced me to reflect on my relationship to said individual. Essentially, I’ve needed to work the 12 steps on this: 1. We admitted we were powerless over ___ and that our lives had become unmanageable, 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, etc. Through this process–especially the 4th step inventory–I’ve traced the origins of the trouble with our relationship and begun to admit my involvement in the problem. I believe I haven’t respect her as she deserves to be respected. How can I expect others to respect me if I don’t respect them?

One of my shortcomings is believing I’m right. I gather people to my side, compile reasons for my viewpoint, and cling to my righteous position at all costs. Sometimes I am right; however, often, I’m quite lost in my own virtuous sense of the universe. I need to hear other opinions, even if they’re shared in a less-than-respectful voice. I need to listen beyond the pain and anger and remember that “hurt people hurt people.” This is true for me as much as it is true for the other person.

About BJ

living the dream in northern Utah
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