Here's the deal: Every year, our faculty have to turn in a packet that the departmental and college committees use to evaluate our progress toward retention, tenure, or promotion. And every year, like clockwork, the whole thing seems to come as a complete surprise to me. I've got some sort of paperwork amnesia that enables me to forget procedures from one year to the next.
So, I find myself a couple of days before this deadline, realizing that I don't have all the materials that I need to complete my review packet. Said materials are in the department office in Job City, which is two time zones away from Fellowship City. I'm not sure I could have gotten my hands on them before I left, even if I were the kind of person to have that sort of foresight, but the fact is that I don't have them, and the deadline is approaching.
I e-mail Omniscient Office Admin. (they're all pretty fantastic, but this one in particular has been with our department for years, and deals with my panic attacks with aplomb and good humor), but get no reply. Later in the day, I call Stupendous Chair, who has more looming crises to deal with right now, and she tells me not to worry, even though that's what I do best. She also tells me that O.O.A. has been out of the office for a few days with a flu, but that she'll leave a note.
O.O.A. e-mails me, when she's got every business being home resting, and not checking her e-mail, and offers the following:
"Just let me know what you need--I'll be hapy to look for it and e-mail it to you as a PDF, or copy it and insert it at this end, whichever you're comfortable with."
I've seen little signs posted in other administrative offices, saying things like "Lack of proper planning on your part does not constitute a crisis on my part," and I can sympathize with the sentiment. But we should all be profoundly grateful for office staff who make everything run so smoothly, even when it's really our problem.
Here's to them.