A few months ago, my boss was on vacation. She was going to be gone for two weeks, a nice long trip. We had prepared for her absence as best as we could, and my own long vacation would be happening two days after she came back. Summer’s not a busy time at my workplace, which worked out great for both of us, since we both liked taking outdoorsy vacations.

But, the week before she was supposed to come back, the gut punch arrived.

She was not coming back.

At first, I didn’t believe it. Classic denial. And then I proceeded quickly through the rest of the stages, landing more in limbo than anything else. For several weeks, I waited to see how things would fall out in my section of the office.

And, two weeks ago, the word came down. I was promoted into my boss’s position.

Supervising isn’t something that I’d ever planned on doing, but this would be a small team and I would have a mentor in my boss’s boss, who had actually been my original boss when I first started in this office. I felt that my path wouldn’t be easy, but it would be possible. Something that I could handle. I could learn to supervise.

Then an uppercut came out of nowhere.

My now-boss, who had been my boss’s boss before my boss left, was also leaving the department.

When she told me and my direct report, I maintained an outward calm, because I had to take this without freaking out. If there was ever a chance to prove that I could keep control over my emotions sufficiently to be a good supervisor, then the time was now. At the least, I wouldn’t be able to prove it to her for much longer.

But it was important for me to prove it to myself as well. I know that one of my weaknesses in this team environment has been a tendency to be overly emotional. Inside, my head is spinning at the rapid pace of change, but outwardly, I’m working on projecting the kind of calm that will hold my team together.

I’m trying to take these punches like a boss.

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