This is the fourth post in my Countdown series to help me take stock of what goes on in my life, focus on the positive and deal with the negative. I’m not sure how interesting it is to anyone who isn’t me, but feel free to join in the challenge!
The week started with a day-long business intelligence exam: the trainer had asked us to prepare seven exercises and we spent the day sharing some of our answers with the group. We then had a few days to edit our answers before sending them to the trainer. I liked this format, it wasn’t as stressful as a presentation – although I spoke a lot and quite fast, so I must have been a little stressed.
After that, I worked every day, even a little on Saturday. Two big tasks kept me busy, including one that had been on my list for months. I kept putting it off because I thought it would be too complex and risky, but I guess experience made it easier. Not only was it worth it in my main project, I can now reuse the new code in future projects with some light adaptations. As for the other one, I’m afraid the code won’t be as easy to reuse since it involved too many changes, but another ongoing project requires it, so I won’t have a choice.
On Wednesday, I was finally able to see my friends again. We had a great time, until I said I wasn’t sure what would happen in January once my contract ended. My fiancé started telling me about all the ways we could save money, how we really needed me to make money, what I should be doing right now – i.e. looking for new clients – to make sure I have a source of income if I can’t sign an employment contract in January, etc. This really stressed me out and we got into a fight. Worst evening of my life.
On Thursday I asked my boss if he thought he could hire me full-time or at least part-time in January and he said that was the plan but he wasn’t sure how to make it happen. Later that day, he and my “other boss” had a meeting with a prospect and potential investor that went really well. If they can move forward this month, I won’t have anything to worry about, but until they have signed a contract with this prospect or he has returned a signed quote, I don’t want to get my hopes too high.
On Friday, my other boss told me that he would be in charge of managing projects – and me – from now on. At first I couldn’t understand what he meant – we’re a small team, we all know what is going on, what difference will it make? So I thought my “first boss” might need to take a step back and focus on specific things for a while while his partner handles the rest. I don’t think it will make much of a difference – so far, the priorities are the same.
But this change led to a strange Skype conversation in which I ended up telling my new “manager” about all of the doubts that have held me back these past few weeks – what am I doing here, was I right to set translation aside for this job, how can I share my skills when I’ve learned them all on the job, will I be up to the task as the company grows, etc. I thought he’d say something like “it’ll pass” but he actually took the time to think about it and his answer was both kind and reassuring. He basically told me that he’d gone through something similar, that I was doing great and that I should believe in myself. Way to go, new manager!
Things that made me happy
- Only going to the training center once this week!
- Seeing my friends again.
- Reassurance from my boss regarding my employment contract.
- The pep talk from my manager. Definitely.
- My fiancé teaching me how to play Stellaris – it was overwhelming at first but I enjoyed it.
- A nice evening playing Overwatch with our online community.
- Preparing my personal development presentation early instead of waiting until the day before!
- Trying Destiny 2 with the voices of Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres ♥
Things I look forward to
- More biking – I sort of forgot about it this week, telling myself that I would “train tomorrow” at least three times, and only trained twice.
- Watching the end of Killjoys season 3 tonight – I have so many questions!
- Playing the new Pets extension from The Sims 4 – all I’ve done so far is try to recreate my cats and I was terrible at it. I only bought it because there was 30% off on Origin, I don’t really play The Sims 4 anymore, but I like building houses!
- Again, passing my exams – line management and personal development this week, then the last two in January.
- Not going back to the training center for three weeks after these two exams, then for at least a month after the other two, and not ever going back after the final presentation. I’m so sick of the train-subway-bus combo!
- A friend staying with us for a few days before the New Year – I haven’t seen her in months.
This week’s problem
For my line management exam, I need to think of a problem that I face at work that has to do with either management (of myself or others) or my “professional identity” – whatever that means. It has to be a problem to which I don’t have a solution, so I can’t talk about a problem that I’ve had and solved. Tomorrow, I have to share my problem with the group so that we can all try to solve it together in a collective intelligence process, and I will have to sum up what was said in writing afterwards. I like this format – not what I expected for an exam! – but I can’t find a problem to share.
I’ve thought about the problems I’d written about on this blog, and I wouldn’t say they’re 100% solved, but the solution I chose was always to talk about them. I can’t change how I think or feel unless I share my thoughts and feeling with someone who has information that I don’t and can help ease my mind. I’ve actually talked about some of these issues in class, and guess what they told me? To talk to my boss! So now I need to find a new problem, and I’m stuck.
I sort of have a back-up problem, in case I can’t find anything else: how should one behave in a meeting with a prospect or client? What should or shouldn’t one do or say? How should one behave with the rest of the team in front of the prospect or client? Is it OK to talk among ourselves to discuss a question they’ve asked us? How does one make a good impression? But I’m not sure it falls within my “professional identity”, and quite frankly, I’m not very interested in the answers.
Another problem I’ve thought of is the one I shared with my manager: I ask myself too many questions. And as I wrote last week, I’m very bad at controlling my emotions. When something bothers me, even when there is nothing I can do about it, I can’t help thinking about it and it brings me down. It can really kill the mood. It feels like I’m sabotaging myself by focusing on something that can only bring about anger and sadness. So how do I take a step back, put my bad thoughts aside and enjoy life?
Now, I’m much more interested in solving this problem, but I’m afraid it’s too personal and not professional enough. Yet, it is directly related to what happens at work, be it the feeling of being trapped in my job or the thought of a competitor getting a detailed proposal my boss sent. If only I had thought about it earlier this week, I could have emailed the trainer and asked her if this was a problem I could share, but I was too busy and forgot about it. Anyway, I’ll find out tomorrow!