Changing Faces

Two weeks ago, my Interim Department Head announced that she was taking a new position. Monday, the Beerophile SysAdmin sent me a chat message with a link to his new job.

Things are in a bit of flux around Workplace Hedgehog.

In them, I’m losing two excellent colleagues who have been heavily influential in my assimilation here. Whether it was inviting me out for lunch when I felt very new and alone, giving me insight into their perspectives of the tenure process, being people I could ask a question to in private, and being people I was comfortable being honest with when I hit a wall of frustration.

There’s a lot of change in the library world at the moment, many of my professional friends are at least actually browsing if not actively interviewing, strategically moving to a management position or one that is a better fit with professional interest and/or personal wishes. Here at my institution, we’ve hired six  new faculty in the past six months, have another half dozen where the search committees are working through candidates, and there’s more in the hopper–with some anticipated retirements, a couple of new positions, a few others we haven’t replaced yet. And that doesn’t include the turnover in staff positions or student workers. The new Head of HR (one of those first 6 mentioned above) is a busy woman.

It’s difficult not to feel left behind and a smidge abandoned, especially with the increased workload that comes with someone leaving. Oh, I’m thrilled for them. Both of the colleagues mentioned above are moving to really great positions and I trust that their new institutions will appreciate them as they should. Their absence will be felt, though, and while I expect to continue to stay in touch, it won’t be quite the same as tossing lunch onto their calendar and knowing they’ll show up at one of the many restaurants Taylor Street has to offer.

And such is not, of course, to say that I’m not looking forward to new colleagues.  One of the things I’ve seen from this side of the hiring table is just how important fit can be when interviewing new colleagues. Can I see being in productive meetings with this person? Would I be interested in knowing them if it wasn’t the interview process?  Sadly, we can’t hire all of the interesting people, but the process has certainly exposed me to a number of new potential professional friends.

All told, there’s going to be a number of positions open at my university in the next few months.  Now that I’m done with external search committees for a bit, I need to polish up the suggestions-to-a-cover-letter-writer and get that out to you. If you are considering applying to be my new colleague and have questions, please let me know.

 

 

One Comment

  1. Comment by Cleo Pappas:

    Nice insightful comments, Abs. We forget that junior faculty especially can feel abandoned when friends leave. Contributes to low morale, too. Wish I had words of wisdom, but I don’t. We spend more time with colleagues than we do with our families, and it hurts when they leave us.