Dealing with a loss

Jul 24 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

About halfway through a conversation, a colleague just let me know that they are considering an offer somewhere else. While I am happy for this person, they are also my closest colleague at the university on both a personal and professional level. We share lab space, our grad students are in the same office and we have plotted world domination research directions together. In a lot of ways their presence here made my decision to take this job a lot easier. Although we do different things, the similarities in our methods have been complementary and our students have benefited immensely.

I wasn't really sure how to take the news, so I put on a happy face. I'm not foolish enough to feel betrayed in any way, it has nothing to do with me at all. Part of the issue is family and part is research community, both of which would be stronger for them in the location they are considering. I can't really argue with that, but it will be a huge loss for me if they decide to leave in terms of critical mass for the projects I am working on, the intellectual community here for my students and I and other faculty who are going through similar things. There's been no decision yet, but I will surprised if they stay. Not sure what to do. Not sure there is anything I can do. Sigh.

3 responses so far

  • Ambivalent Academic says:

    Here's what you can do - Pitch a screaming, bawling, kicking tantrum on their office floor and wail "Nooooooo!!!!! Don't goooooo!!!!! Don't leave me here allll by myseeeelllllfffff!!!" until they promise to stay.On second thought, that would be very undignified. Maybe don't.On a more serious note, I'm sorry that they might leave. One of the labs I interviewed in for a post-doc may be in your shoes soon too. Their closest allies/idea and resource sharing lab might be packing up and moving out soon too. It makes me wonder how the lab I am considering might change if they do go. Here's wishing the best to you and your colleague.

  • Comrade PhysioProf says:

    The only thing you can do is get used to it. This is how academia works.

  • qaz says:

    With the web and email and conferences, it's still very possible to collaborate with people in other universities in very distant places. Much as I love the intellectual interactions I have with my local colleagues, my closest collaborations have always been external. Just because they might be leaving doesn't mean they're gone.PS. It sounds to me like they were trying to warn you so that you weren't blindsided by them leaving. Sounds to me like a pretty good colleague. (Unless of course, they're leaving because of you. :)PPS. Maybe you'll get all their space!

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