A friend of mine was promoted to a relatively senior role recently. I congratulated him. We spoke about several other people we have known for years who are now very senior in their fields. “I keep wondering,” he said, “where are all the grown ups?” I know what he means.
I am friendly with a former boss of mine, now retired from the world of work. I arranged to meet her for lunch on a Friday when I thought I would be quiet at work but it was not quiet and I scooted out to meet her and arrived late and had to leave early. I then realised that I had left my wallet back in the office and she had to pay for my lunch. The final indignity was that she had bought me a box of chocolates for the children and I forgot to take them with me so she dropped them round to my office later in the afternoon.
I think I probably owe her a nice lunch.
I was having coffee with a couple of colleagues in their 20s the other day and asked whether they had plans for the long weekend. They had. They were going to festivals I had barely heard of to hear bands I had never heard of. “Have you any plans yourself?” they asked politely.
“No, none at all,” I said, “no wait, actually, I’m going to a funeral in the midlands on Saturday morning but other than that, I have nothing planned.” I think I might be 102.
Does everyone else have a work timeline and a personal timeline? I can tell you what I did in work over the course of the last 20 years and what I have done domestically but I can’t match them up. So for example, I can say when the children were born and what employer I was with at the time but I cannot for the life of me tell you what work I was doing at that exact time though in general terms I can tell you what I did in that job from start to finish. It’s like the personal and professional travel on parallel tracks in my brain.
This is not necessarily bad, I suppose, but it frequently leads to diarying near misses where I have committed to go to a work dinner and realise, quite late in the day, that I am also committed to some church type event or a school concert. I suspect that having a work electronic calendar (shared with colleagues), a domestic electronic calendar (shared with Mr. Waffle) and a paper diary, doesn’t help. The paper diary is supposed to marry work and personal but I often fail to add things. For a while, I spent Fridays reviewing calendars for the following week but, somehow, the habit did not take. Suggestions to address my scheduling needs gratefully received.
Can you tell I am out of ideas for this not entirely successful NaBloPoMo?
Slightly scraping the bottom of the barrel tonight. What news? I have to get up early in the morning for a course I’m doing. Poor Daniel is sick. The weather is rainy and miserable. Michael is grumpy. Herself is in France. Mr. Waffle and I planned to take Monday off to go for a walk together and now I can’t because of a work thing. On Friday it will be a month since my father-in-law died.
How’s your own November going?
I have secured a new job. I only started just after Easter so I’m still at the stage of working out what I’m supposed to be doing and trying to find my office. I think it’s going to suit me better than the last job though so that’s all to the good. Disillusion may, of course, set in. One of my former colleagues gave me a goodbye card with a fish jumping from a smaller bowl to a bigger one. When Michael saw it he said, “Mmm, still a fish bowl though.”
On the first day, I went out for a bowl of soup and a woman at a nearby table waved to me and said hello. I began to frantically scroll though the deeply inadequate Rolodex in my head: was she someone I had met at work that morning? “No,” I realised, “it’s M from bookclub.” Then I said (aloud), “I thought you were M from bookclub but you’re not, are you, wait, wait, I know who you are, I do, you’re M’s sister…” “Catherine,” she said kindly. Why would I think aloud like this? Suitably mortified, I scuttled away but with the inevitability of these things, the following bookclub was at M’s house which she shares with her sister who dropped in to say hello. “I’m so sorry about the other day,” I said. She was very kind but did comment when she turned to tell her lunching companions that I was Anne from her sister’s bookclub they all said, “Yeah, we know.”
So, lots of new people in the new job, none of them, it turns out, a sibling of one of my bookclub members but, so far, they all seem very pleasant. I must say, I do miss my friend in HR from the old job – a lovely, lovely woman who convinced me that there was a point to HR (comment from another friend working elsewhere on my telling her about the wonders of our HR division – “Really? In my experience HR are scarcely human and not at all resourceful”). But I can still meet HR friend for lunch and my new location is delightfully central.
Wish me luck.