Today’s post is really just a continuation of yesterday’s….
We had a staff party tonight, to honor me and two other faculty members who are moving on. As I’ve said before: I always feel a bit awkward as the “guest of honor.” And also as I’ve said before: I keep reminding myself that an event like this is less about me than the people who are throwing it.
That’s probably particularly true in this instance. I am leaving a job I have been at for eight years, and I am leaving in a period of significant institutional transition. My departure, along with the retirement/resignation of a few others, has created some considerable anxiety about the future. Tonight’s event was a celebration, to be sure, but I think it was also a way to pull together as a department and reestablish a sense of solidarity.
So I showed up. I talked with as many people as I could. And I did my best to reassure everyone that it was possible for the department to continue to thrive, even with this period of transition and uncertainty.
I hope that what I’m writing doesn’t sound too self-important, especially when my intent is just the opposite. The truth is: I know that my department will do fine without me. And I’m hoping that they know that too.
But a little reassurance never hurts.
I completely get what you are saying here, and I agree! I often feel the same about work functions held for a particular person. Sometimes they feel more about the hosts or the group than the person themselves, but as you stated, it can pull people together and provide reassurance.
It was a good event. I’m glad that I went–for myself and for my staff.