A Golden Age?

In many ways, I believe my workplace is in the middle of a Golden Age. It’s a time on the precipice of exciting changes: a new building, a new name, our own offices, additions to our staff, a chance to make our own template for helping (truly helping) our students, and creating an environment where students can get the services they need and not feel like they are in the realm of the forgotten.

We have been recognized officially by the university for what we do so well, and we are being rewarded for that. It all started with sweeping change on our campus: a new president, chancellor, provost, and college dean within a year’s time. It was an unprecedented opportunity and the new state of things was – let’s shake things up and do it right. The old ways of budgets and priorities won’t fly; unless you can prove what you do is crucial to the strategic plan. It was our time to be noticed. And that is what we did. Our years of profound impact on student success with the meager resources we had at our disposal had a payoff.

There is a kinetic energy about the place. With three wonderful people joining our staff, our veterans became rejuvenated. Old factions broke down and a new sense of working together was born. The buzz of leaving behind The House is both exciting and saddening. True, it was condemned. True, we have to share offices while discussing sensitive and confidential information with out students. True, we could never hire someone who is in a wheelchair. And true, we have strange phenomena like odd sound tunnels, close encounters with bathroom follies, and fuses blowing out when we turn on two space heaters at the same time. But we’ll also be leaving something behind.

We will be leaving behind little things, like having our own building, plenty of metered parking out front, and the “warmth” that being in a house connotes. Most importantly, we’ll be leaving behind the closeness that our space has created. We have been forced, in a sense, to work side by side, and that proximity has branded a kind of camaraderie that a suite of offices cannot forge. While we will carry that spirit over with us, will it persist in the same way with our new staff?

The very thing that is so wrong about our office makes things work so right for us. Therein lay the most fascinating duality I think that we encounter in this world. The House, with all its bitter faults, sustains our spirit. Without it, can we be the same? The new familiarity will create a new dynamic, so the question remains:

Is this the beginning of our Golden Age, or are we at the end? No one can say until it is in retrospect. The very idea of a Golden Age is a mythology of life that is recognized only by peering backward and remembering that feeling in the air that we mistook once as our daily life. Never noticing that those days were laced together by a sense that everything has a pattern, that life was good, and that energy and creativity could build anything that wasn’t limited by imagination. Possibilities dangled all around. An ideal work world was on the cusp of discovery. Nothing could stop us.

Every Golden Age ends, as is the cycle of order. We ourselves cannot control it, as it exists beyond any one of us. Nor we can force it to remain. We can only experience it as a moment of transition, something fleeting, that we were fortunate to be a part of, and hope that what we do in this high time will persist beyond our reach.

“Put your hands on the wheel, let the Golden Age begin.” ~ Beck

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've got a new reader/fan, yippee!

Cute AND intellectual with a dash of humor thrown in...nice. I do enjoy your blog.

A new fan,

Kel in Ohio

Anonymous said...

You have a new reader/fan, yippee!

Cute AND intellectual...with a dash of humor! I enjoy your blog immensely, especially the mini rants on your daily life events...thanks for the laughs.

Of course I'll have to come back and visit...

A New Groupie,

Kelly in Ohio

Allie D. said...

I'm thrilled that all of your hard work has finally paid off! That you will be out of the condemned house from hell! Still, I will miss stories like that of your dirty bomber... ;)

Bubz The Troll said...

It's like an ouroborus.

S Dub said...

AWE! This makes me sad that things are changing!! How will I be able to continue logging "Chris-isms" if you're no longer feet away from me, behind the partition?! Who will teach me about Molotov cocktails, gortex, crabapples (or is it crab apples?), and healthy purchases?!?! I guess I'll just have to frequent your new office, eh? I'm sure you won't think twice when you find me peering through the leaves of your "George Bush" with a pen and notepad in-hand, documenting your strange and quirky comments...

Army said...

Kelly - thanks for the comments and your newfound readership! Welcome to me thinks : )

Allie - yeah, the stories will be missed, too. But I still have plenty of kooky coworkers and students to report on!

Bubz - thanks for teaching me a new word today! Too bad I took the GRE 7 years ago!!

S Dub - we'll just have to drill a hole in our adjoining office wall so we can still chat. If I see you peering through "George Bush" or "Hanging Chad" or any other plants, I'll just have to remind you that you can't see through gortex.

Adva said...

Ok, probably shouldn't have read this BEFORE coming to work. Now I'm going to be a pathetic lump of sad poo. I've been ignoring my feelings that you so eloquently wrote about. I am sad about the house, I've always liked the communal nature that it brings out of us. *Sigh* I wish that we could just build a house in its place where we all have our own offices...with doors. I don't even mind the bathrooms, there is always the building next door :0)

I'm sad that we are leaving too....I really hope that we adopt an open door culture at the new place....

I wonder the same thing about the Golden Age. I really wonder if this is going to better or worse....I think that we have gotten so good at being the underdog, what happens when we aren't that anymore? You notice that's when the movie always ends, right?