A sense of loss…

Layla, my colleague and friend, has retired very suddenly for personal reasons. Processing my sense of loss, I have this to say…

Would you like to work in a place where you have time to absorb and process one idea before racing on to the next? I’d rather work with Layla.

Would you like to work in a place where you have the space to just be, without disagreement and constantly being challenged? I’d rather work with Layla.

Would you like to work in a place where things are always crystal clear, precise and well mapped out for you? I’d rather work with Layla.

It’s easy to work with people who think in the same way as you do (or don’t think much at all) – You make a suggestion, they agree. They make a suggestion, you take it up. No argument, no raised voices… no progress?

New staff witnessing dialogue between Layla and me are often taken aback. We argue, we disagree, we force each other to examine our beliefs, clarify our goals and adapt our thinking. This is real collaboration and what grows out of it, is dynamic and exciting … often leading to meaningful change.

It’s easy to relax and go with the status quo, accept things because they are good enough or because they have always been done a particular way. It takes courage to constantly question and to fight for what you believe in, even if you upset people along the way.

I’ll miss my thinking partner. I’ll miss pushing her into a corner and making her explain her thought process, examine her motivation and justify her thinking. I’ll be looking out for someone passionate with strong beliefs about learning, who’s not afraid of change… because I need to be pushed in exactly the same way myself.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like being challenged, who doesn’t value debate, who isn’t able to take the seed of a creative idea and use your imagination to grow it yourself into something flourishing… then you might not miss Layla.

I know I will.

11 thoughts on “A sense of loss…

  1. I have witnessed the educational ‘banter’ between you and Layla. A better word is ‘collaboration’ – the outcomes have been exciting and productive.

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  2. What a lovely post! Completely agree I love those that continue to push me, challenge me and get me to think. Love the banter. Hope all goes well for Layla.

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  3. I was looking forward to working with her and learning from her. In the few times I did get to work closely with her (and there really were only a *few* times) I was struck by how supra-intelligent she is. I also have to add that when it comes to how she dresses, Layla is easily the hippest and funkiest grandma on our block!

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  4. I have often been in awe of Layla’s thought processes and creativity, and been pushed by her challenges. After so many years I will miss her as a colleague, but look forward to seeing her as a friend.

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