This week, my boss has been out of town, so I’ve conducted several HR duties in his absence, with increased responsibility and autonomy. I loved the independence of this past week, and as I reflect on my performance, I think I excelled under the added pressure. It was truly a real-life representation of the story of the talents, where the owner returns after a long time away to see how his manager (that’s me) has stewarded his resources. Building relationships were more difficult this week, as I spent more time manipulating spreadsheets and online forms than interacting with people. One important way in which I was able to serve others this week was by cleaning and renovating an engineering workspace for two new employees coming in next week; a task which included mopping the floors and emptying filing cabinets. By giving the new guys an environment geared towards productivity and success, I fulfilled my role and helped communicate an accepting and empowering culture. I’m reminded of my response to several people’s questions about how the summer has been. I’ve been challenged and encouraged, both beyond my expectations. The people I’ve interacted with this summer have been incredibly uplifting, my team especially. Community is always a remarkable gift, but this summer has definitely superseded my expectations in that regard.