I started writing this for my own benefit. Kind of liked it, so I cleaned it up a little and I’m posting it here and probably on Facebook later (where it probably is more appropriate to reach the SLCC audience, since only a few of those folks visit here anyway)…
As most people are probably aware, SLCC has opted not to renew my contract next year in a cost cutting measure. I’m sad about it, but from every angle that you can look at it (money-wise) they’re making a sound decision, and I don’t blame them.
I’m a fan of tying up loose ends, so I’m writing this note. It reflects a few of my thoughts and feelings about having to leave. Please know that I mean all of it in the BEST way, and I hope none of it comes off in any way critical or bitter. Maybe there’s some sadness, here…but there are no bad feelings. I just want to be clear about that. So, with no further ado…
Stuff I’ll miss:
- The Job — I know it’s probably weird to some of you, but I LIKE Library work. I particularly like OUR Library. It’s nice to be around books and media and to have keeping up with current trends in media be a part of my job, rather than just a hobby. One of the best things in life is to be able to be around your interests, and my interests are largely books and media. It’s been great.
- The Bookstore — It was just a good place to go and spend a few minutes of the day. The folks that ran it were always friendly and kept things well-stocked. I’ll miss that a LOT.
- The Cafeteria — I know the typical student point of view is that their Cafeteria is terrible, no matter the school. That’s part of being a student. A college Cafeteria could serve the finest food in the world, and students would STILL say things like, “Ugh…Fillet Mignon again?!?” But I think our Cafeteria does a great job. Not everything is always to my taste, but that’s to be expected. More often than not (I’m talking high-90-percentile) I’ve been a very happy patron of the Cafeteria when I’ve been in there.
- Ridiculous conversations with students/MAP workers. — This has been one of the best parts of my job. A lot of Library office work is kind of low maintenence, and you can chat while doing it. I’ve had some really fun conversations with my workers. I could do the whole list of people I’ve sat chatting with, but I’ll just focus on Matt and Dayna for now and say I’ll really miss them.
- Chapel…especially SENIOR Chapels. — I’m not often present for Chapel. I’ve wanted to be there more, but so much stuff piles up around the office in the Library, that (especially in this under-staffed year) I’ve felt like I could use the hour to get things done. However, I will frequently listen to the Chapel recordings afterward. Especially the Senior Chapels. I’ve listened to every one of those.
- Graduation. — I can’t put into words how rewarding it is to see someone accept their diploma when you’ve watched them struggle, helped them find things, listened to them complain…to watch someone “make it” to graduation is an amazing experience, and the feeling the professors, staff, admin, etc. have during the day is probably only MINORLY trumped by the feelings of the actual graduates. I’ll miss that a lot, and I’m not going to lie about it…I’m INCREDIBLY bummed out that this year’s will be the last one I’m attending.
- Professor Lay. — I use the term “Professor Lay” to show him the respect he deserves among his students…but I know he hates it. When I talk to him in person, I call him by his first name, because he’s my friend. He’s actually the first real friend I made among the faculty. I will greatly miss Doug popping by my office with some thought or question. I’ll miss the lunches. I’ll miss…too many things to list. I’m sure we’ll still be friends, but I’ll hate, hate, hate not seeing him as much.
- Professor Sanders. — Pretty much the same deal as above. Kent and I are of pretty much the same generation (or thereabout). We frequent each other’s blogs. He asked me to teach a lesson on comic books in one of his classes (which is one of my favorite SLCC memories, by the way). Every time he comes into the Library and needs something, he shoots me some weird, random look through the window to my office, just to make me smile. He’s a great guy. I’ll miss seeing him around.
- Professor Doggett. — I worked with Professor Doggett at the Ferguson Church as well. I wear it as a MAJOR badge of honor that I’m able to say he was my missions prof. when I was a student. I hold it as a MAJOR badge of honor that we worked side-by-side in a church together. I hold it as a MAJOR badge of honor that we’ve been colleagues at SLCC. …but the biggest honor is that I’m able to call him Larry–or sometimes Bwana–my friend.
- Professor Merritt. — I dare you to find someone on campus more genuinely kind than Professor Merritt. Go on. Try. He’s one of the nicest, sweetest people I’ve ever met. He’s an encourager. Even with his recent health problems, he’s not had a cross word for anyone. I deeply admire that… Shoot, if I have the sniffles, I’m practically unbearable…but he’s always good to people. I’m going to try to do my best to take that example with me everywhere I go.
- Dr. Chambers. — I’m going to keep this one brief, because he’s my boss and I don’t want to seem brown-nosey. But… He’s been a really great boss. He’s trusted me to do my job. He’s believed in me. He’s supported me. He’s sung my praises on more than one occasion. He gave me the news that my contract wouldn’t be renewed, and I think he actually felt worse about it than I did. Great guy, and I’ll miss working for him.
- Dr. Jones. — Everyone on campus can find SOMETHING about Dr. Jones that they like. Even if you don’t like how tough his classes are (and if that’s the case…what, exactly, did you think college was going to be???), you might like how funny he is…or that he’s a big Styx fan…or that he does his best to find a kind word for you when you need it. He’s one of the few professors who’s gone out of his way this year to tell me that he thinks I’m doing a good job running the Library. Kinda made my day when he said it.
- The Pabarcus Family. — I can think of no single family that has been more influential in my life over the past 3-4 years. I’ve never met a Pabarcus I didn’t like. I’ll really miss seeing especially Mike and Deb as frequently. I’ve kind of gotten used to having Deb being right across the hall if I need to chat with someone about virtually anything. Again, I’m sure we’ll keep in touch…but it’s really going to be weird not seeing them as often. That’s going to be a MAJOR adjustment.
- …and all the rest… — Those guys are the ones with whom I’ve had the most significant contact this past year (or so), but I know I’m leaving off a ton of people. I could go down the faculty/staff/admin list and tell you what I like and will miss about every person on there (or pretty close). But this is already getting long… Just know that if you don’t see a name on here, it probably should be.
Stuff I won’t miss:
- The printer, especially when there is a HUGE paper due and everyone prints at once.
- The parking lot in winter, when despite the BEST efforts we can put forth, it still freezes over and I end up falling down at least once a season.
- That’s about it…not bad to only have two things on this list after seven years…
A few random thoughts:
- When Professor Alcorn left the college in the early 00’s, he offered a food-for-thought quote from his personal diary that’s always stuck with me. “If they throw you a party, maybe they’re too happy you’re leaving.”
- The part that sucks the most about this is that I’m leaving the job that I know I’m going to look back on later in life and think, “That was the happiest I’ve ever been.” Even if my next job isn’t some soul-destroying, dead-end gig…I know I won’t be near as happy and fulfilled at whatever that job’s going to be as I was at SLCC.
- …also it really would’ve been great to have a new job lined up by now, but with things how they are, I’ve not found anything.
- I have nothing profound to say about it at all. I know someone else who’s in the same boat who’s taken the “everything happens for a reason” route…and I guess that might be true, but sometimes I think that the “reason” isn’t anything in the future…it’s just that money was tight and/or you were expendable. If everything happened for a reason and everything always ended up working out, there wouldn’t be any poor people and the economy wouldn’t suck…
- My last day in the office will be May 29…my birthday. Nice.
- I’ve always tried to be honest. Sometimes that’s been good and sometimes bad…but if nothing else can be said about my time at SLCC, at least you always knew what you were getting. In all, that’s served me pretty well. Things only change and progress if someone has the guts to talk about the problem (or solution…or whatever). I had someone tell me recently that that’s one of the things they’ve most admired about me and that they wished they could be like that. I don’t know if they really DO wish they were more like that…but it was nice to hear!
- Adapt and overcome.
- I hope I can find a job in roughly the same driving-radius. I’m not really what they call a “morning person.” I don’t want to get up much earlier than I already do…and I usually don’t want to get up THIS EARLY, either!
- Jesus never got a pink slip…just one more way in which He’s better than me…but on the other hand, I’ve never been crucified…so…
- I should really clean my office before the end of May. Lots of stuff needs to be sorted out so the next person can find things.
- I haven’t always been top-notch at my job, but I feel like I always tried my best. That’s a great thing to walk away with.
- It’s better to leave on your own terms…but you’re still leaving some place you loved…so it doesn’t really matter how it happens.
Maybe I’ll post more thoughts later…but this is turning into a book…so let’s wrap it up there. In closing, just in case I don’t write more, thanks to everybody that’s made working at SLCC so great. It sucks that it can’t last forever…but as Bruce Springsteen once said, “Everything dies, baby…that’s a fact.” And as Kurt Vonnegut said about that, “So it goes.”
…and my mother used to frequently say, “That’s as useless as tits on a field-mouse.” But I’m not really sure how that applies, here.