Nothing hastens the planning of your next holiday quite like returning to work. The brain goes from feeling fresh and taut to at once being drowned until it’s a watery mush barely resembling its previous verve. Like a rotting salad, in a way. In my case, five months out in the wild vanished in a twinkling of an email. In fairness, it has very little to do with the work itself: a week in the same office was never going to be quite as fun as the months that preceded it. Halcyon times indeed. I am proud of myself that I submitted a request to buy additional leave within 48 hours of coming back to work. That made me smile. The first day of the actual week was cumbersome yet I muddled on through, the following days were full of tricks clearly manufactured by some fantastical time-wizard. Three hours on the second day wrapped themselves imperceptibly between 2.30 and 2.43pm. To parody the great WC Fields: I spent a lifetime working in an office. I think it was a Tuesday.
I’m often staggered by how many people I actually work with. Large corporations house towns of people, all rushing to and from the office, many counting down the hours until they can leave, retire entirely or simply drop dead. That may be a slight exaggeration with the current company (they are a good bunch on the whole) yet I know many of my colleagues that genuinely feel that way, which is a shame. Eight hours a day is a long time to wish away. It’s hard to imagine the atmosphere if you’ve never worked in a corporate environment. I once ran into a schoolfriend’s brother in Wales and immediately started enquiring about my friend – was she married, kids, work etc. Having relayed quite proudly that she worked in an office, he was utterly bereft of any further details. ‘In an office’ was explanation enough and he simply wasn’t equipped to deal with further lines of enquiry. That’s life in the countryside for you. Cities are alien places.
After six years of managing teams of business analysts, business support, testers and project managers, letting all that go has been a welcome break. I now simply manage myself. And far from being such a terror in the first days, it was all quite novel. A different type of adventure. I was at a loss how to even access my computer as the password had long expired. But once that was sorted out I smiled at the technology becoming familiar once again: the corporate email system and their accompanying traffic lights telling me whether they are available or in a meeting. I hadn’t thought about that for, well, seemingly forever. Curious as to what happened in the company in the last five months, I opened the intranet and found tens of articles and announcements, and remembered that I had no interest whatsoever in it, so quickly closed it down. I figured that if it was truly important, news could come to me.
God knows what the second week is going to be like. Where did I put that brochure on gorillas again?
Image reference: http://crossroadcenter.org/almost-back-to-school/
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