I came back to work yesterday, though many people took it as a "floater day". I was happy to ease into my work load on a quieter day. In case you didn't know, I also work at the University where I study.
Today though, I'm a little sad. But not because I'm back at work.
Unlike many people, I actually rather love my job. I work with great people, some brilliant minds and my job in language research is well suited to my skills and interests.
I'm sad mostly because I'm crawling out of a state of denial that I've been in for some months now. You see, our Director, N., is going on a six-month leave and will be living outside the country.
He's a fascinating person and by far, the best supervisor I've had in a job, ever. I watch how he works and closely observe how he strategizes and makes decisions. I have learned more from working with him in the past couple of years than I have from most people in my life.
I have asked him if he would mind leaving me his brain, pickled in a jar on my desk, so I can poke and prod it for advice on a daily basis. Alas, it turns out that he will be needing his brain during his leave, so I can't have it. (Luckily, we understand one another's slightly warped sense of humour...)
The fact that he has a daughter about my age (or so I would guess, from some of our conversations), has created an interesting dynamic between us. I often feel "taken under his wing", in a fatherly sort of way. And I look up to him... as both a mentor and a human being.
We have, in fact, joked about me being a young Jedi and he, Obi-Wan. (I'm not really so young, but the comparison still fits. :-)
I am well aware that this level of respect between superiors and subordinates rarely happens in a working situation. I won't say that I've been spoiled, because for the most part, I work hard and smart in my job. The mutual professional respect is, I believe it would be fair to say, very much earned... on both sides.
The Interim Director is a wonderful person, accomplished scholar and experienced administrator. In our dealings so far, we get along very well and I have every confidence that we'll have a good, solid working relationship... probably even an excellent one.
Nevertheless, I start this first day, when campus is abuzz with most staff and faculty duly stationed back in their jobs... I am a little bit sad... as I realize that in a few short days, my mentor of a few years will head off to what might as well be a galaxy far, far away.