As you may know, I work in the education segment of the technology world. This has taught me a few things.
One, very few people are here for the money. We tend to be below market price for base salary, and while the difference is usually made up in fringe, many people are looking at that dollar sign for an indication of self-worth.
Two, very few people are in it for the prestige. Despite the idea that you are afforded more lulls (not lulz) by the concepts of winter break, or spring break, or summer vacation, you aren’t. There is a constant, overwhelming pile of work – not only to keep the lights on, but to advance the mission as well.
Three, because of points one and two, there are a few types of people who mesh very well into this environment. It takes a very particular mix of multitasking, self-sacrifice, persistence, optimism, and zany madcap humor to feel comfortable here. It takes a person willing to trade the spoils for the stability to stay here.
I’m proud to say I work with a handful of people who fit that description. But today, I have to see one leave – not for money, not out of frustration, but to spread her wings and travel the world for a year with her husband.
This wasn’t a surprise, per se; the employee in question was kind enough to give four months notice. But it only really hit me last week, that this constant source of balance and sanity in my workplace is going to be gone as of 5PM today. The contact won’t be gone – I still expect to be chatting endlessly over IM late at night – but the constant interaction will be.
It’s tough losing someone who’s been so valuable to your work experience. And it’s hard, in an environment you’re so used to be professional in, to realize how much certain coworkers mean to you.
Enough melancholy – Paula, it’s been a dream working with you. Thank you for everything. I am undeniably jealous of your plans, and wish you all the best. New York will be here, waiting patiently for your return.