Goodbye Esther.

For over eleven years I’ve worked for a little Cuban lady. She was a very good boss. It was like working for your favorite aunt.

Her management style combined a mother-hen concern for her subordinates with a guard-dog-like vigilance in protecting them from the intrusions of upper management and their micro-managing ways. In stature she is diminuitive, but her colleagues and sometimes adversaries respected her acumen and fierceness. She was, like Carol Keeton-Rylander (to use a local Texas political reference), “One. Tough. Gramma.”

And now she’s retiring. We’ll miss her dearly. So I’m sad. And when I’m sad I write.

I’m sad because it seems like the end of a lot of good things. We, due to our efforts, brought an end to a piece of NASA history — the Mission Operations Computer at Mission Control. It is the end of what one of our managers called one of the largest software successes in large software project history. We are moving to another set of offices next week. Another desk, another cubicle. Another boss. ‘Cause our old boss is leaving.

But it’s more than just that. There was this feeling that you were doing just the right project and you were surrounded by the only group of people in the world with the combination of skills, experience, and history to do it right. It was that good feeling of being on a great team. We clicked. We flowed. It was great having a job that you looked forward to coming to and co-workers you looked forward to seeing every day.

So we’ve had the speeches, the awards, the banquet, the going away party. And next is the curtain.

We are in the coda at the end of a great symphony. And the next opus has not yet been written.

What comes next might be good too, who knows? But right now I have this feeling that it will never be like it used to be.

That’s a universal truth — it will never be like it used to be. Change is inevitable. Sigh.

I can think of no other melancholy platitudes about change so I’ll stop there.

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