I miss my colleagues
October 29, 2020
A few days ago, while listening to the news, one of the newscasters asked, “What do you miss most about the office?” In that moment, as if in a Harry Potter book, I apparated back to my Drexel office, but like the last time I was physically there, the office was empty. Eerily empty. Depressingly empty. Reminders of the time that has passed since we all congregated in the halls posted on the side of my computer or white board. Then the following day, Alba Berberena – the glue of Goodwin College - emailed us all and asked, “What do you miss most about the office?”
I miss my colleagues was the overwhelming response. We all shared a tale or two such as meeting up in the kitchen, chuckling over a funny joke or being the butt of a funny joke, and as Karen put it, “the door to door chats,” or being drawn to Rachel’s office over the spicy smell of cinnamon. We also reminisced over our Thanksgiving potluck. Last year was our second annual. It is such a fun event when we all come together in our conference room filling our plates with a wide variety of homemade goodies, including Josh’s Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, Pat’s turkey, Marna’s baked Ziti, and Bob’s glazed carrots, and we could never forget Alba’s famous Coquito.
While no one misses the printer – we miss the everyday seemingly inconsequential moments of saying hello as we pass one another in the hall or on route to the rest room. We miss the ability to pop into another’s office to ask a simple question or comment on a new outfit or the health of one of our treasured fur babies. We miss much of what we likely took for granted just eight months ago. There are the birthday cards we all personally signed, the holiday door décor, the chatter about the employee Olympics, the email memes, Kena’s wedding shower, Marna and Nina’s wedding plans, Rachels surprise elopement, and Karen’s newest grandchild, political banter with Pat, and as Lamont put it, “the trek from my office to the kitchen, the quiet side to the ‘fun zone’ of our suite…each trip enriched by the encounters along the way.”
There are also the bigger moments we have shared, our volunteering together at Share, a local nonprofit dedicated to ending food insecurity, the Escape Room antics, the Phillies game, and axe throwing. Those shared experiences, which we all long for, created the team we are today, one that meets weekly to check in on one another during these tumultuous times filled with fear and angst and sorrow. We attended Kena’s mother’s virtual funeral. We’ve shed tears over the senseless deaths of unarmed black men and women. And we’ve commiserated over losses suffered due to COVID-19. But we also still find a way to laugh with one another, share our weekend adventures, though different now, and someone’s love of Disney show tunes. We celebrate smaller weddings and home purchases and new fur baby additions. We persevere because of who we were, as a team, before the pandemic – built upon our mutual respect, admiration, support, and encouragement of one another.
So yes, we I miss my colleagues. I miss the daily interactions, and I will no longer view the simple passing in the hallway as mundane, but rather a wonderful moment to be treasured. I know we will experience this all again. We will come together and be able to stand in one another’s doorways and talk about the scores from the Eagles game or politics or the latest episode of whatever.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Dean, The Graduate College
Assistant Clinical Professor & Department head, Goodwin College