The workday started off on a very positive note- a former co-worker who left us five years ago to go to grad school returned for a visit. Besides myself, the only persons from the era in which she worked for us were a manager and two of our elderly part-timers (who are the backbone of the organization). It was a pleasure to see this young woman, who had gone off for a couple of years in DC and a couple of years abroad, with her sheepskin and an upcoming job in a prestigious institution in Manhattan.
I have been with the organization for twelve years and I like to think of myself as one of the 'keepers of memory'- on the one hand, I remember old procedures used to cope with uncommon situations (I'm the guy who ends up turning on the outside drinking fountains in the Spring and turning them off in November before it gets really cold), on the other hand, I remember individuals. This particular former colleague spent an hour hanging out with us, catching up with the doings of other alumni and giving us a précis of her studies and job situation. It was a lovely way to begin the workday, and plans were made to visit another former co-worker of ours who has been positively kicking ass, professionally.
One topic which came up, a topic which I have expounded on with co-workers, is the poor track record the organization has in cultivating and retaining the younger staff. We often lose our younger workers due to salary considerations, as most of our positions are part-time. As I indicated earlier, the backbone of our workforce consists of retirees. Our former co-worker then joked about how she is now planning to return once she has retired. She'd fit in beautifully, she always did, even when she was a youngster.