Friday, May 26, 2006

Attrition and Addition

Working in the same place for any number of years (five in my case), changes of personnel are to be expected. During my tenure in my current place of employ, we've survived a number of "goodbyes" to beloved staff-members, several programmatic and funding changes, and various other challenges which small non-profits must face as they grow and evolve. Today saw one of my closest friends from work take her leave. In fact, she is the only person from my work-place who I regularly socialize with outside of work, and her loss only began to truly hit me today. This particular person and I often go out of our way to offer one another hugs, kisses, and warm fellowship that can truly make a difference in the trajectory of a day gone haywire. Her absence beginning next week will be difficult to overcome quickly. With her not at her desk, it'll be like a smile missing a shining front tooth.

Just as I'm beginning to digest this particular co-worker's departure, celebrating her new chapter of life with a group dinner out on Wednesday and a cake and gifts today, yet another colleague announced her imminent departure in 14 days, followed by yet another whose departure date is set distantly for September. Just as our office is undergoing a major shift of responsibilities and practice coordination, some of the cogs are removing themselves from the wheel, and we will soon all be reeling from the effects of such personnel loss. Of course, we have lost many others over the years as well, living to tell the tale each time. But each time a member of the team leaves, worries surface that the new replacements won't "gel" as well, that the sense of family and connectedness will be undermined, that what we have worked so hard to create will feel different, less intimate, less cohesive. While I am generally one who welcomes change, stability in a stressful workplace is key to success and satisfaction, and each change which threatens stability does not necessarily bode well for the future.

On the bright side, someone of whom I am exceedingly fond and with whom I worked within another agency some ten years ago was just hired to join our team in a somewhat administrative capacity. We will not be sharing patients, per se, and she will not be directly involved in my day to day practice, but her presence in the office is a "good fit" and brings some fresh energy and ideas to the fray.

So, attrition and addition were foremost on my mind today, even as the calls and pages, unannounced visits and constant multi-tasking pummeled my tired brain and body. Now a long three-day weekend awaits, Friday night relief seeping into my bones like a nectar.
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