I sent TR the paragraph he requested. It was longer than a paragraph and more full of complementary self-referential language than anything I've ever written. When I sent it, the subject line of the email was, "greatness revealed."
Oh, I can't help myself. Here's what I wrote (with work-specific info redacted):
For personal reasons, [Jamy Barab] has requested a six-month leave without pay. [Jamy] has a variety of interests she wishes to pursue during her leave and she feels it is the appropriate time in her career to take this time off from work. Upon her return, she will complete her outstanding assignments.Ahem.
[Jamy] brings valuable skills that range from the mundane (explaining the ins and outs of Word) to the highly technical (implementing complex statistical analyses). [Jamy] is a particularly valuable employee because of her combination of technical skills, writing ability and flexibility. [Jamy] has never turned down an assignment and excels in bringing otherwise difficult projects to happy conclusions.
In recent years, [Jamy]'s writing skills have come to the forefront. [Jamy] is particularly skilled at writing in a clear and accessible style, which is essential for our reports since they are of interest to non-technical (lay) audiences.
It cannot be emphasized enough how important writing is to our work in [this office]. It is almost impossible to train staff to write, so while we highly value [Jamy] for her technical skills and flexibility, it may be her ability to write that is most valuable.
On the technical front, [Jamy] is conversant with most forms of multivariate regression and does her best to keep apprised of methodological innovations. She has received training in Event History Calendar data collection methods and Event History Analysis methods since beginning her work at [the Department]. She has stayed current with SAS training and is proficient in SPSS as well. She also attends the professional meetings of the [appropriate professional association] and fosters an important link between our world and academia.
In addition to methodological skills, [Jamy] brings in-depth knowledge of many [of this department's] programs. She started her tenure [here] because of her interest in the [major well-known] program and has stayed-up-to-date with that program. Along the way, she has become expert or semi-expert in the following program areas: [list of 14 programs!].
[Jamy]is often called to consult on special issues for program offices. She regularly reviews and comments in detail on the [annoying boutique program] report. She assisted in the assembly of an OMB package for a survey in [tiny southern county] and, in that case, helped design the survey and analyze the final data. Recently, she was asked to review the [interesting boutique program] NOFA [translation: notice of funding availability--like an RFP for public entities] due to inclusion of research requirements. She is also advising [enormous unfunded program] staff on the best approach to improve their data collection.
While it might be possible to hire someone with a skill set as valuable as [Jamy]'s, it would take considerably more than six months to get that person working at her capacity. It is also unlikely that we would find someone with just these same, particularly valuable, skills.
Yesterday, my potential sublettor became my actual sublettor.
I think this might actually happen.
I can't believe it.
I'm overwhelmed and very, very, very happy.
I'm so happy!
And you know, I'm going to kick some ass at this job in the next two months. Ironic, no?
More later, but I had to share.
Grateful for: my great good luck.