The new normal

Fall 2010 Between the lines“How’s work going?”

Friends and family always seem to ask me that when I touch base with them, even though I have been working at Wheaton for three years now. I guess, given this economy, one never knows whether work is still “going” at all. Whenever they ask I never talk about the work, but instead I automatically talk about the people at work. I always say, “The people at Wheaton are so great!”

Well, sadly, some of those great people are no longer here, due to the economy. In June, Wheaton officials made the difficult decision to eliminate 29 staff positions (12 of which were vacant). Karen Mateer, our Wheaton Quarterly class notes editor, was one of those people whose position was eliminated.

Months after she has gone, we are still staring into her empty office and talking about how much we miss her on a deeply personal level, and how much she did for the college, the magazine, and the alumnae/i with whom she had close relationships. (You could tell Karen any name and she would know the class year and some interesting detail about that person.) I’m sure that we won’t stop lamenting her absence.

But at the same time we are figuring out how to move forward, as difficult as that will be. We want to maintain the high standards we (including the more than 75 class notes secretaries who voluntarily write the columns) have worked together to achieve. As a team, we are continuing our conversations about how to do that.

In the future, you may notice changes in the class notes section as we adjust. Some of the changes you may like, some you may not. We may do some things differently or not at all. But please know that we are committed to helping you stay connected to the college and to each other. We welcome your suggestions and appreciate your patience during this transition toward what I’ve been calling “the new normal.”

Change is never easy, but, as they say, it is the only constant in life.

So, “How is work?”

It’s going.