Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Walking under ladders

Today at lunch I committed the conversational equivalent of walking under a ladder or seeing a black cat: My boss asked me what's going well in my department, and I reeled off a long list that included each of my employees. She asked me what's challenging, and in what ways she could be of assistance (this was not the average monthly meeting... I'm not sure what got into her) -- anyway, I couldn't come up with anything. "Things are great," I said. "Everything's running smoothly."

Fast forward an hour, to my monthly meeting with a part-time, extremely conscientious and responsible employee who plays a crucial role in compiling four of our (most annoying and tedious) special publications. "I have something I need to tell you before we start," she says. In the split second before she goes on, I think, "She's pregnant." But of course she's not.

She's quitting.

Luckily for me, she's giving about six weeks notice and is staying to complete a very large and important publication, and then one more week to train her replacement. And my boss has already drafted the help wanted ad, which we will post tomorrow. But still. My newest employee came on about two months ago; she's just gotten into the swing of things and is picking up her full workload. And now I need to start the whole process - the screening of resumes, the interviewing, the conferring, etc., etc. - all over again. Oy. (With a staff of just 3.5 people in my department, hiring even one is a huge drain on time and energy. Thus all my angst.)

The odd thing is that this person is leaving to pursue a master's in education... which is exactly why we hired her in the first place, because her predecessor left to do exactly the same thing at exactly the same school. I can't picture either of them as teachers, but that's beside the point. All I know is that flippin' university better keep its hands off my next hire.