I am sitting at my desk, putting the finishing touches on an application for some pilot funding and reflecting on life. My department has some really amazing administrative folks that, despite my best efforts to derail them, seem to somehow keep us all on track. Earlier today I went to see one of our administrative assitants with a new publication in my hand. She asked me if I wanted her to put it on “the fridge” (what she calls the glass case where she hangs all of the papers the people in our division publish) and it kind of made me feel warm and fuzzy. She takes really good care of me. You’ve never seen a grown woman look more like an 8 year old than when her work ends up on “the fridge.”
I was thinking about how my attitude toward our administrative support has changed over the years. When I was new here and scrappy, I would have lost my junk at the simplest of mistakes. But, I realize that I also didn’t understand how much harder in many ways their job is than mine. More than once have I gone to them and had this interaction:
Me: “So, I want to submit a [whatever]. Can you help me get it set up?”
Them: “Sure. When is it due?”
Me: “In [insert some ridiculously short amount of time].”
Them: “No problem”
And now that I’ve been here a little while, I realize how many of us do that to them and how hard they work to accommodate us all without complaint. I realize how many late nights they send fixing the shit we send them and how very, very infrequently they tell us they can’t do something.
I guess the point of this mini reflection is that, in retrospect, I regret how my ambition may have occasionally manifested itself into dickishness when I was a n00b here. Science is an inherently human endeavor and, even with the occasional mistake, there is no way that I could do my job without them.
I think I am going to go say “thank you.”