But much of the focus was on budget cuts and what that was doing to various projects and filling of positions. Basically, the lab's budget is the same this year as it was when the place was started back in the early 1970's. Most of the staff are funded on grants now, but even some of those that have been around for a long time are in jeopardy. Yet, they were amazingly upbeat and enthusiastic about what they do. One lady looked at me and said, "You taught me how to be the best at what I did. And when we thought that we couldn't add any more work, you would encourage us to dig deeper and do more."
Well, yes, I guess that is what I did. I told them that they were the best and meant it. And they would tell me when I would go off to a national meeting to not get any more ideas about interesting projects. But then, I would come back and tell them about something I thought we needed to work on, so we would brainstorm, write a proposal and submit it. Now, it's harder and harder to get funding. But all of them are still employed and doing good work.
I was told by one staff member that I taught him to "grow up, work hard, and strive for excellence". He was the fellow that I took aside one day when he got on the research vessel half-looped. I told him to drink coffee, sober up, and grow up because he had a 24 hour shift to pull with me, and I needed him. He is now a computer programmer pulling down six figures, married, and has a little girl who he adores.
The Al-Anon program tells me to practice the principles (steps) in all my affairs. Maybe I was doing some of that already before I got into program. It seems that willingness, fairness, honesty, and caring can be instilled within each of us early in life. It takes awareness to be able to make the best use of these characteristics and maintain them through time, and hopefully pass some of them on to others.