I’ve recently spent almost three weeks on the other side of the country. Literally about as far as I could go from my Queensland coastline… traversing central and western Australia to the West Kimberley. It was a work trip of course. Someone was on leave and I’d been asked to help out in their absence.
I knew it was going to be a challenging time. The office was due to move and one of our projects was being transitioned to another organisation. Unfortunately it was even more tumultuous as the much-awaited move to nicer surroundings was cancelled. So… there were quite a few disappointments to manage while I was there. And a lot of (understandable) frustration.
The time away did however step me outside of my comfort zone a little and give me some time to reflect.
1. I’m not completely devoid of interpersonal and social skills nor have I lost my managerial capabilities
The time in Derby actually went incredibly quickly. I’d thought I was only going for two weeks but then it was extended. Before I left I’d been adamant I wouldn’t agree to three weeks… it’s always hard when you don’t have kids or pets or a partner to use as an excuse. Explaining that your house will be left empty and your indoor plants will die isn’t really a good reason to offer up when you’re trying to be a good colleague and citizen.
I did hit a bit of a wall at the end of the second week but that was mainly cos it was stressful – emotionally for the staff and me trying to be there for them.
I did some in-town sightseeing while there though and adored these marsh sculptures.
At various times I felt useful / helpful but also like I’d achieved absolutely nothing. My presence was (I think) well-received however and it was nice to be reminded I’m not completely devoid of social skills. Sitting at home working from my study-cum-third-bedroom can mean you forget that.
2. I need to get better at asking for help
Just before leaving Derby I tripped over and somehow managed to injure both ankles. I then ‘endured’ a 3hr drive to the departure point of my first flight. As I hobbled into the regional airport check-in the lovely Qantas person asked if I needed assistance getting on and off planes (I had three to catch). I was horrified, “Oh no!” I said. #famouslastwords
One 3hr flight later I had a 6hr wait at the Perth airport where only one restaurant/bar was open. IT WAS THE LONGEST SIX HOURS OF MY LIFE. I’d purchased some anti-inflammatory cream and pressure socks but my ankles were exploding and I had shooting pains in my legs. I was paranoid about DVT so tried to hobble around a bit and not stay still.
The next 5.5hr flight departed at midnight, followed by another 3 hour wait until I finally caught the last flight home, arriving 24hrs after I’d left the other side of the country. I’d managed to get a doctor’s appointment but he didn’t think there was any serious damage to my ankles and suggested I ice and rest them – which of course I hadn’t been able to do before then.
I’m not quite sure what airport staff could have done for me. I saw others being pushed in wheelchairs and buggies taking them to planes departing from the tarmac (which two of mine did and involved climbing stairs) but in retrospect the whole experience may have been less stressful had I asked for help. Or at least asked what my options were.
Happily, though my ankles are still bruised and I’m hobbling, I’ve been far less incapacitated than I expected to be over the past week since arriving home.
I’d like to use the work trip and work stuff as my excuse for not writing and blogging (or reading and reviewing) much of late. I get anxious and guilty about it but then realise it’s only me putting these expectations on myself. I knew Denyse Whelan is ending her blog link-up today though, so wanted to join in one last time.
Meanwhile… I’ve been out of the loop so wondering what’s been happening in everyone else’s universe.