|They're also extremely good-looking.|
I am experiencing, as well as declaring, that I'm going to be fine. But I am missing the people in today's picture.
Over the past decade or so I've been surrounded by the best working group ever assembled. They're not only really, really good at their jobs (and they have the awards to prove it), they are smart and funny and sensitive and hard-working.
Do you know how rare this is in a working group? To not have a single person who is irritating or distracting? No one you secretly hope is scanning the want ads and looking for a better job? As one with decades of experience in the hiring biz, I can tell you that this is the Holy Grail of a supervisor's quest.
A week ago they threw a transition party. "We're not calling it a going-away party because you're not going away," the lead organizer told me. "You're just transitioning, and that's very different. We'll still be your co-worker, and your friend."
Because they know me well and did not want to spend the afternoon in tears and maudlin muddling, we met at our favorite coffee shop, ate lemon poppy seed cupcakes (my favorite), and played Apples to Apples. This is the game we play every year at our Christmas party, and the experience has taken on a life of its own in our group.
We know each other well enough that we can play our cards based on personality rather than logic. The news bureau guy, for instance, was married in Reno. If it's his turn to choose a card and you play "Las Vegas" or "Casino" or anything Nevada-related, romantic mist fogs his face and you know you're taking that trick. Or if it's my turn to choose, the person who has drawn "Tom Hanks" has heard my long-standing and oft-repeated claim that TH is the only man I'd consider leaving Husband for, and that I'm choosing Tom, no matter what the comparison card is. We know that a category we made up called "Tony's Sister" will be funny every single time, even though no outsider would have the least idea what we're talking about.
When we counted our cards at the end of the game I had won, lapping the field with the number of tricks I'd taken. They said they hadn't let me win, and I believe them because they're as competitive as they are talented.
But maybe, just maybe, they subconsciously let me take a few tricks because I was the only one who had cried that afternoon. Just a little, and only for a few seconds, when I was thanking them for their transition gift that contained both fonts and puns and was another indication of how well they know me.
"The best thing I've ever done professionally is hire you all," I told them through tears.
They're what I will miss the most.