“Last time” – week 38

“So this is your last time,” said the skills coordinator. I was attending the annual pre-course meeting in the School of Business and Economics. We usually discuss how things went the previous year, review agreements for the implementation in the new year, and raise any interesting issues. I was a bit surprised to be greeted thus at what would be my final such meeting. But it was true. I would not be doing this again. Surprising that even little incidents bring home the reality that I have to quit.

We did not review the previous year, but briefly looked back at all the years I had been providing some training and support at the School. Indeed, it’s where I began to become affiliated to the university when I was asked to provide some help back in 1984. All kinds of memories came briefly back: that first writing course for staff almost directly below where we now sat; the long-lasting work with Geert Hofstede, a friendship that endures; the beginnings of the current programme when the Bologna Declaration was implemented in Dutch universities in 2002.

Later in the week “the last time” came up again when my director and I were discussing various courses. “How will you plan for the transfer of the Open University courses?” he asked. He has his ideas, but I have my doubts. I again offer my willingness to continue if he cannot set up a replacement. I detect tension. I wonder if managers ever give enough thought to transitions – at least long enough in advance, when processes should be set in place. When I have planned a conference, generally I’ve planned two years ahead, but I get the impression that human resources planning is constantly late or simply not done at all, because it isn’t urgent right now. Is this something peculiar to my institution? Or does it exist elsewhere too?

So ended the third week of my last year: not exactly very eventful, indeed a relatively “boring” week, but “boring” is probably a positive characteristic in this context. However, there was a sparkling concert by the Kamerkoor Aquarius, under Marc Michael de Smet, singing Arvo Pärt’s “Kanon Pokajanen” in the Lambertuskerk in Maastricht. A very moving performance as part of the Musica Sacra Maastricht festival. Arvo_Pärt

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