"It's Spooky Around Here These Days"

Bridget Landry - September 24, 1997
Deputy Uplink Systems Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

    It's almost spooky around here these days; so many people have left the project that the floor feels abandoned. Every week we have going away lunches, often for several people. Offices stand empty, or are used for storage, fewer and fewer faces appear at meetings. I have this weird feeling that, six months from now, one of the flight software guys and I will be the only ones left and will be alternating signatures on all the required paperwork. Feels different from the quiet of the night shift; that had a sleeping feeling to it, the natural need for rest between busy days. This feels empty and alone, hollow.

And yet the work goes on. I'm learning new jobs, filling in for folks who have left, or are moving into spaces left by others. It's kind of strange, at this point in the mission, to be doing new things, having to repeatedly consult notes. I'm quite proficient at the tasks I did for the prime mission; it's something of a "back to square one" feeling to be learning new tasks that are very different.

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