a few months ago i had a run-in with one of my bosses. that might not be accurate since it wasn’t me who was doing the running — i was just meandering along my merry way when my boss body-slammed me (figuratively speaking, of course). it took a few months for the bruises to heal and for me to be walking upright and unafraid, this time on a new path, but here i am. better and happier for it, although not without a bit of sadness.

yesterday four of my colleagues, all of whom still report to that same boss, took me to lunch. i knew it was a gesture of goodwill and friendship, yet i was still naive enough to be surprised when the asked me to tell my version of the events. i gave the usual caveats — others will see this differently, i have my own biases, etc. — but then told my tale.

my favorite moment (among the many choices available to me, since my colleagues were all incredibly gracious, honest, and yet still flattering) was this exchange:

colleague 1: sometimes i think nobody likes assistant deans.

colleague 2: i think deans certainly don’t like assistant deans.

colleague 3: i’m not sure even assistant deans like assistant deans.

me, laughing: well, then, thank you all for being the anomaly.

the group, almost in chorus: oh, no, thank you for being the anomaly.