It's a delightfully cool spring day here. I'm going to meet up with some of my former staff for lunch. We get together ever so often to talk about the good ole days and find out what's new with each other. I suspect that they will have a lot to tell me about what is going on at the laboratory. I haven't been back there in quite a few months.
I have heard from a few people that the halls are nearly deserted, staffing numbers are down, number of grants are down, and more people have retired or are thinking about it. It was a bustling, exciting place when I started working there. And that excitement continued until about the last 10 years of my employment. Gradually, the politics and the bureaucracy ate away at many of us. I'm glad that I left when I did because I could tell that my enthusiasm had waned. It was time to leave.
My reservation about going back is that I feel I no longer belonged. I actually felt like that the last couple of months while I was there. Everything was moving around me in terms of planning and the future, but my future was to leave. It was an awkward feeling, almost like I had left already but was physically still present. My sponsor pointed out that perhaps the people needed to process in their own way that I was going and the best way to do that was to look forward. Maybe.
But one of the things that I did not previously write about here was a note that was left under my door. I opened my office one morning a few weeks after I had retired. I was still going in to work on some last things that I wanted to wrap up. I had a series of lectures to give and some other writing to do. The plain piece of paper was folded over. I thought perhaps it was a note from a well-wisher. But when I opened it, there was a copy of one of my blog posts and a note with some hateful words typed on it. I guess that I have blocked those words because I can't remember them exactly.
From that moment on, I no longer wanted to go back there. I don't know who put the note there. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that I felt angry, fearful, sad, distressed--all tumbling together. Someone knew about my blog and decided to write something nasty to me.
I did not give any thought to abandoning the blog, but I knew that going back into work in my old office was not an option. I told the Director that any work that I would do, I would do from home. I haven't regretted that. I am okay with it all today. My distance from work there is okay. I do miss the people I worked with. And today, I'll get a chance to tell them that again.
I'm glad that I finally wrote this blog post. It has cleared up some hidden stuff within. Thanks for reading.