When a colleague leaves

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This past Friday a colleague I work closely with left for another job. It’s a good move for her, and will allow her to stretch out her very-pink-post-it-note wings, but we will miss her all the same.

The colleague who left was the Strategic Communications Specialist for our department, and as I am the former head of the Social Media Workgroup, the current co-convener of Marketing and Outreach, and the person who created the library’s social media accounts, I worked closely with her. I learned a lot about working with different types of personalities, how to stay extra-organized, and the importance of pink post-its from this colleague, but most importantly, I learned more about communications.

She and I worked together to create a style guide for social media within our department. Sometimes we sigh or grimace at the idea of “documentation,” but it’s genuinely important to have. The documentation allows anyone, whether a new staff member or just a new member of the Marketing and Outreach team, to quickly understand the mission, goals, and voice of our communications. The signage guide that we began together, and which I will soon complete, accomplishes a similar goal: continuity. With new staff coming in, or old staff heading out, continuity matters. The students and faculty don’t know when someone in the library moves to another job, and they don’t particularly care, but they do expect that things won’t change.

So yes, I am very, very sad that when I walk into our office suite every morning now, I don’t see a hint of pink off to my right, and I don’t get a bubbly “good morning,” or an update on what other departments are working on, but she’s got a better job, and we’ve got the documentation to keep going smoothly. Here’s to our outgoing colleague! May she have amazing benefits and many snow days!