One of the highlights - for me - at the annual Directors appreciation dinner at the President's home on February 25 was an impromptu neck rub (shown right) from Mrs. Brazil as she mingled from table-to-table. She and the President were gracious hosts and it is always nice to be appreciated.
One thing our students may not know is that Trinity is a great workplace. The college experience, while critical to building one's foundation, is, after all, fleeting. After four years graduates often become poor working stiffs just like the rest of us.
At the dinner, I had the pleasure of sitting with colleagues Chris Ellertson, Felicia Lee, Becky Spurlock, Barbara Ras, and Diane Graves. The raucous conversation included idle gossip, real faux jewelry, the comparative ages of dinner companions, and, of course, Netflix.
(Incidentally, I do routinely offer to share my own Netflix list through the electronic "friend" function. Through this function your friends can view films you have rated and see what is in your queue. I am quite proud of my queue and thus hope my dinner mates will each take me up on the offer to be my Netflix friends.
As a side note, I put nearly all new films in my queue and have a careful three-step vetting process they must pass before making it to my final list of films I will actually rent. I am happy to detail this process should I receive inquiries.) End parentheses.
This week I also had the pleasure of working with Inessa -- from Russia -- in the International Programs Office. Leaving a medical facility where we visited a student she managed to have a hospital employee validate our parking ticket, which saved us like around a dollar.
(Similarly, I have a trick at Starbucks that I shared with her -- and will share here to avoid paying for refills. Here's how it works: After finishing my tall decaf coffee, I amble up to the counter and ask for a half cup refill. As I do this I fumble through my Trinity ID pouch for money (while looking pathetic) as the clerk says "don't worry about it, it's just half a cup." I swear, this works every time and I have saved probably $15 employing this tactic. And I don't even like Starbucks coffee.) End parentheses.
There are innumerable examples of how the personal and professional lives of employees intersect which makes this is an excellent environment for employees. Not only are there the silly stories, there are the serious discussions, the important decisions, and the stewardship of the lives of the students entrusted to us.
The same vibe that students feel when they visit as prospective students is the same one job candidates feel. Those feelings emanate from the faculty and staff whose members are not just happy here, but committed to the lives of our students. Without a sense of mission or appreciation, employees would merely work here. But those connections and the accomnpanying sense of commitment are woven into a fabric that move this place forward one day and one relationship at a time. That's what makes a job a calling and a University a home. It is all connected.