A Productive Lunch, with Thoughts on Self-Applied Pressure.
My lunch yesterday with my bosses at MECMC was very cool. It was mostly just a friendly meal in the hospital cafeteria (Which is awesome. I had steamed salmon and rice with grilled asparagus for like $8, and it was catered-quality.). I was given a little more in the way of description of how my workgroup will be organized. Even though I report to someone, they say that it’s all basically a big collaborative process. Which is good for me. I honestly do best when I have people to report to and projects ongoing that I have accountability for. I’m more productive that way, and I do better work when I know people are going to be checking it.
And there were just so many good things that came up. For example, they asked me how my vacation was going. I told them that it was going well, and that I know they wanted me to start earlier but that I really needed the time off. And they said: “Good for you for pushing back on that.” That’s just incredible. Because it means that when it’s time for me to take some time off, a year from now, even if there’s a lot going on, I’ll be able to say that it’s time for me to take a vacation and that it’s important to me, and they’ll respect it.
We talked more about publishing and IRB issues. They’re supportive. They asked me what kind of laptop I want. They’re going to put me in touch with HR so that I can figure out the pension system (What the hell is a “2% paycheck credit”?). My office is just going to be a cube in a room full of cubes. But it’ll be my cube, which is fine. It was a good lunch and I’m excited to start. I’m also nervous. But I think that’s good.
I often feel like I shouldn’t be nervous, or apprehensive. But why shouldn’t I be? Why judge my feelings, thus putting even more pressure on myself for failing to handle these incredible upheavals in my life with anything less than perfect aplomb? I want to assert that I have the right not to be perfect. But moving to a new city and starting a new job without apprehension wouldn’t be perfect; it would be pathological. And that’s just it. I am critical of myself sometimes for not being pathologically unemotional.
I have accomplished a great deal in the past few months. Managing a move, a job search, all while writing an R01 equivalent grant application (Pending, and likely to be turned down even if funded.). And you know what, it’s been emotional. It’s been difficult. I’ve cried a lot. I spent my 5th sober anniversary, a thing that should have been a major event celebrated with close sober friends, alone in a new city unpacking boxes. It was lonely and sad.
But I am emerging. I needed the time off. I love ECC. It’s incredible. I needed this time. I needed it not to burn out and bring the emotional exhaustion from the move and my last job along with me to my new position. I have another week and a half. And then I will begin. I’m excited. I’m happy. I’m ready to move forward.