When I began my current job, I felt as though I was on Cloud 9. At last, I found myself at the perfect intersection between my education, my interests and my strengths.
I loved how I spent my days. I loved my responsibilities. I loved my office. I loved the highly energetic and intelligent students that passed through the halls, expressing thoughts rooted in idealism (though lacking a bit in reality).
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For the first time in my professional life, I felt myself settling in. I felt as though I had finally landed and could start a legitimate career. My boss was (is) a gem — a true rarity in the world of managers — and she took the time to train, support, and set goals with me.
I also began getting to know my co-workers. I felt so lucky; the majority of them were about my age, had similar interests, and were as happy to be in the office as I was.
One of my colleagues stood off to the proverbial side by herself. It didn’t feel unusual though — she was married and we were single. She had kids and we were childless. She was about a decade older and had different interests. We were cordial — friendly even — and we all worked well together.
At some point, this particular colleague developed a closer relationship with me than she had with our other co-workers. It made sense — our offices were directly across the hall, we had the same boss, and worked in the same department. As our friendship grew, she became comfortable confiding in me, and I learned more about her life. She was dealing with some issues at home, and they were beginning to take a toll on her.
She began calling in sick to work with greater frequency. When she was in the office, she was unhappy — snapping at our students and making sarcastic remarks in our staff meetings. She continued to confide in me, sometimes spending entire hours at a time in my office instead of her own, venting.