The Next Best Step

It’s been an interesting couple of months, with people in and out, changing profiles and changing questions . . . and maybe even changing priorities and changing plans. Activity on the dating sites has been off the charts in terms of views, “Likes,” “Wants to Meet You”s, and messages, and even a couple without normal social boundaries. They disappear as quickly as they showed up to begin with, and I’m learning to let it go without chasing.

I’ve learned about Kik and Tango and had some fun messaging with people I’d never meet otherwise–too far away to date, but not too far to chat and goof off with. Still working on getting Skype and Google Hangouts to work, but oh well. It’s not a major issue if they never do.

My big week at work is now past. These days made me realize more of how much I have changed over the last few years. A key staff member was out this time, leaving us to fill the many roles he normally plays, and it gave us some chances to fall down–or fill in.

I gave a briefing to senior staff once again. I’d been thrown into it ten years ago and was terrified as they seemingly glared at me across the huge table; this time with many of the same colleagues in the room, I felt at home and at ease enough to stay focused, speak confidently, and respond rather than react to questions and other rabbit holes, no resorting to being nervous and playing a persona. The real me was present in that room.

I had the opportunity to be seen as something more than my usual Shrinking Violet in front of a potential new boss. He sought me out after one of the dinners to tell me he thinks I’m “impressive.” I appreciate that. Once I’m back in the office, I’ll tally up the numbers for these events: how many people, how many committees, how many speakers, and so on, partly for my new resume but mostly for my own edification.

In spite of the semi-chaos at times, I connected with people and enjoyed them more than ever, joining in the heavy politicking at the edges of the room, professing long-felt mutual affection, and just encouraging, loving, hugging, and building them up. It was so good.

Earlier in the year, I met with a counselor in our Career Services Office, and she drew a sketch of what careers look like for most of us: a wild, curvy, bumpy, even loopy line, and she advised me this: we can’t see how it’s all coming together until we’re looking back. So the best advice, no matter where we are, she says, is to look around, assess the current situation, and take the next best step, whatever that may be.

I can’t quite see it yet, but it’s becoming clearer. Time for the next step.

 

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