Friday, 4 April 2014

I'm back!

And man, was it with a bang. Two talks, two cities, two overnight stays. One of the talks was a plenary, in front of the most important people in my field, locally. So it really needed to be something new, and I ended up finishing my slides right up to the wire.....
What with Orson being ill and so unable to attend nursery the week before, and then me catching it and being feverish myself, despite working all weekend and every evening and every naptime it was still a very close shave to get my talk done in time. It was a whole extended family effort, with my parents, sister and cousin as well as husband stepping in to hang out with Orson while I read about bacteria and frantically urged my brain to function. 

Many times in the last few weeks I regretted over-committing myself  and wished I wasn’t having such a baptism of fire on my return to work. I was convinced I was going to make a public baby-brained spectacle of myself and skewer my professional reputation for good. When I lost my voice on top of everything else it really seemed like everything was against me and i'd better pull out.

But in the end I think that would have been a mistake. Thanks to all the help I got and the amazing patience of a very small man, I did get the talk finished and it wasn’t an absolute disaster.  Giving the plenary has really helped my confidence and shown me that I can do it, my career really might be able to continue after all. Jumping in at the deep end is often the right thing to do if you’re worried about something, I think. Personally, if I allow myself to wobble or hesitate it can be a slippery slope. 

So that's it. No more lounging around watching daytime tv and picking my nails. HA! as if. I made that joke to a male colleague this week and he said 'yeah, its must be a shock to start back at work'. Lesson to self - don't make these jokes! People have NO idea.

I want to make an effort to sort of mark the change, reflect on the last 11 months and try to make a conscious return to work instead of just sort of stumbling back into a morass of deadlines and responding to other people's requests. I had planned for the leave to give me a bit of distance, to come back to the issues I write about with a fresh eye and a new perspective. But I also want to try to be a bit more autonomous than I was before. To plan and strategise about where I want to go, how to structure my year, rather than letting the shape be dictated by which conference planners are most organised and book me up first.

So I'm planning to have a couple of weeks of just planning, followed by a couple of weeks of pure catch up reading, before I'm allowed to write a line. Bliss.

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