Eight years ago I took a pay cut to join Vanderbilt, my husband was in school full-time and money was tight. My department began taking bi-weekly lunches to build team camaraderie. I did not attend. While I didn't share my reasons, to anyone, the man who managed multiple departments noticed. I will never forget when I returned to my desk one afternoon a month into my job. I noticed an envelope and when I opened it money fell out. The note enclosed from Jon Lehman (Owen student dean at the time) encouraged me to start attending the team lunches. Gestures like this one encouraging inclusivity are one of the aspects I most appreciate about working at Vanderbilt.
James McCollough, Lead Library Messenger, never fails to greet me by name and shake my hand whenever he sees me on campus. And it is not just me he singles out for this moment of good cheer and friendliness. Hundreds of times a day, he waves, smiles, and greets the people on his delivery route, bringing a touch of humanity and a large dose of cheer to our lives at Vanderbilt.
Me and my staff regularly assist Michelle Collins and the Nursing Midwifery faculty with various projects throughout the year. This past December she brought us all huge plates of baked goodies in appreciation for the help. This was a totally unexpected expression of kindness which made me and my staff know that our work was appreciated.
Last year, my family experienced an unexpected death. Needless to say, it was a very difficult experience. While I felt supported at work in a number of ways, a few weeks after the funeral, when the chaos had calmed but I was still grieving, three colleagues surprised me with the most beautiful flowers, brightening my office for several days.
Sometimes, it's too difficult to suppress the struggles we are experiencing in our personal lives while we are working. Recently, I was having a particularly difficult day and it must have been written all over my face. A co-worker took notice and asked me if I wanted to take a little walk outside for a few minutes. We stepped out the door and it was like the floodgates opened. Every bit of anxiety that I was suppressing exploded. Although we had only been acquaintances in the past, I felt compelled to tell her everything that I was going through. She quietly listened. When I was through, she asked me to take a deep breath and slowly let it out. She said that when things are getting the best of her, she steps outside and 'releases' the anxiety. It only takes a few minutes but the results are tremendous. I was so grateful that she took the time to show me this small but effective technique. Her kindness was so genuine and it was a wonderful start to what I hope will be a long friendship.
I can say that we are always kind to each other. We are a great support team. One instance close to my heart was a family crisis this past October 2017. Everyone here at the Law Library pitched in to support me during this sad time in my life.
Stacey Crowhurst, Director of Facilities: Business Affairs, has been exceptionally kind and understanding. When I've had difficulty coping with work situations, Stacey has never judged me; rather, she has been very accommodating, supportive, and even encouraging. Her thoughtfulness has helped me to grow in my position, and has made a huge difference in my even wanting to come to work. She has made a wonderful difference overall in our department since she's been our Director.