So, I can't remember when I last updated, so apologies if any of this is being repeated... It's also qutie wordy, so... you can ignore it if you like.
So, on Thursday morning I shadowed / watched Gaynor to learn the ropes of the secretary job. At that point, it all seemed doable and only slightly scary. Due to the information overload I was decidedly tired on Thursday night, but I figured that was understandable, considering the workout my brain had been given. I spent Thursday afternoon pottering about reading the notes Gaynor had left and typing up the minutes from Wednesday's team meeting before my own handwriting became illegible.
Friday morning was much of the same, copy-typing for David, random bits. After lunch the IT blokes came downstairs to move our PCs around and we were 'in situ' from around 3.00pm. I ended up not leaving work until 5.00pm (core hours are until 4.15 on Fridays) because I was waiting for some bloke from a legal employment agency to ring back and confirm the date for a meeting he had demanded with David (who wouldn't see him until the end of next [this] week at the earliest). I decided to give the agency bloke until 5.00pm (because, yeah, "two minutes" my arse), at which point I shut my PC down and went to the loo, ready to leave. Naturally, he rang back whilst I was in the loo. At least I managed to go home after that.
I think at that point the panic truly set in. I think it was a combination of being actually in place at the desk and the fact that I was absolutely exhausted (mostly from moving my stuff around), but in any case I spent the entire bus journey home stressing about the prospect of the job.
And continued to stress about it once I got home. It even drove me to drink, which hasn't happened since I was at Ladywood - probably the bloody Inline debacle, come to think of it. I didn't mention anything to Paul because I just wanted to figure things out on my own. I went to bed at about 10.15 because I was so exhausted, but was still bloody awake two hours later thinking about things. Paul came in at that point to turn the PC off as he'd decided to stay up for a bit, and then I lost it completely and burst into tears.
End point, I decided I'd made completely the wrong decision in applying for the job (or accepting it, whichever), and was going to speak to the appropriate people on Monday morning. I figured that there was another candidate, apparently it was a very close call on who got the position , and if I hadn't applied then she would have got the job anyway. Otherwise I think I might have decided to stick it out. The fact of the matter is, every time I thought about it I could feel the panic starting to rise, not to mention that my brain felt three sizes too big for my skull while I was deliberating all of this.
I think I finally managed to pass out around 2.00am, but subsequently then spent the rest of the weekend stressing about what I was going to say on Monday and how it was going to be received. I felt totally stupid for messing everyone around (after I'd been trained and our stuff had been moved around), but just wanted to nip the thing in the bud before it got any further down the line. I was even tempted to ring Gaynor on Saturday at home just to get it over with, but decided against it because I didn't want to interrupt her well-deserved weekend.
I can't remember much of Saturday... I think we went out for shopping but that's all I remember. We went to Wetherspoon's for breakfast. On Sunday we went out to see Coraline with Alison, which was awesome - more later - and I stressed about Monday considerably less that night and managed to get some decent amount of sleep... except then the panic set in again on Monday morning and I absolutely did not want to go to work. I was so tempted to pull a sicky, but if nothing else, I am the kind of person who faces their problems head on... Well, at least in terms of talking to people being the problem in this case; I'd already attempted to face the job problem and run screaming, but that's not really the point.
Annoyingly, despite leaving the house somewhat late and dragging my feet all the way from the bus stop, I still managed to get into work 10 minutes early. Thankfully Gaynor was in at about 9.30 when I went down to drop off my clock card, so I was able to talk to her straight away. I burst into tears pretty much straight away (meh) but she was lovely about it and said she'd speak to David later when he was back to Court.
Alas, his Court hearing was insanely prolonged and he didn't come back until 1.30pm. He called me into his office to go over his diary and stuff and asked how I was getting on, so I stole the opportunity to break the news to him as well. Understandably, he did try and talk me around, and was absolutely lovely about it, but in the end he was fine with my wanting to relinquish the position to Liz (the other applicant). We moved the PCs around in the afternoon after Gaynor had spoken briefly with him as well, and then to Liz, and as of this morning I am back to being a fully fledged WPO again. And much happier.
Am I a big fat coward? Quite probably that's what everyone is thinking, and you'd probably be right. The thing is, I have this new rule in my life wherein anything that makes me question my own self-worth - whether that's a person, a job, or any other kind of situation - is absolutely not worth the effort and stress. And the secretary job was doing just that: making me cast doubts about my own ability. As an upshot of that, I would only have become more stressed, which would have jeopardised any attempt at proactivity or can-do attitude.
Besides which, if the job was going to make me that tired all the time, I would only have become more stressed / depressed / cranky, and any possible benefits of experience / extra money would have been overshadowed by not actually giving a shit as long as I could sleep. I experienced being too damn tired to achieve anything when I started at Ladywood, and it was not a pleasant period in my life. I don't want to go back to that. I'm de-motivated at the best of times, without the added 'bonus' of complete exhaustion. Not to mention that Paul is stuck in a job he hates at the moment and we would both have ended up permanently irritible, which would only have jeopardised our relationship. And, I'm sorry, my own life and mental stability is FAR more important to me than a job.
It also didn't help that prior to this I'd been off sick for five weeks. I didn't have very long to actually apply for the job (and completed the application form, as it were, in about two hours on Thursday night, the day before the deadline). The week after that was a mad rush of interviews, handover and relocating, with barely any time to think - and obviously, we had a bank holiday as well, so the working week was even shorter last week. If I'd had longer to think about it, I imagine it would have been okay. If I'd been at work to be able to ask some secretaries what their job involved, it would have been easier to make the decision in the first place.
I am incredibly grateful to everyone who thought I could do it, friends and colleagues alike. The pep talks were very much appreciated, and I think at any other time I would have been more than prepared to take on the responsibility of the job. I'm still somewhat recovering from Christmas (where my pre-season stress manifested in Going Slightly Mad rather than the usual grumpiness) and apparently I'm just not in the correct mental place to move so far out of my comfort bubble at the moment. My gut reaction when I heard about the job opportunity was that I didn't want to do it. I should have learnt by now that my gut is always right; in future I will remember that.
Trish (the Head of Service for East Team) was everso nice to me this morning, too, making sure I was okay. Everyone has been so understanding and pleasant about it. I feel like a total wuss, and also incredibly stupid for dreading the conversations on Monday - I forget that in Birmingham City Council - or at least here in Legal - the managers are understanding. The atmostphere outside of Social Services is so much healthier - no blame culture, line managers who actually action their promises. If this same situation had arisen at Ladywood - and it nearly did, when they offered me the CPA position - I imagine Carol "I'm so disappointed in you" Wilkins would not have been half so pleasant and understanding about things, and nor would the situation have been solved in under a day. I'm very grateful to work for Legal, in any event.
So, that's about it.
I'll do my Coraline thoughts in a separate entry, as this one is quite long enough.
This week I need to book my coach tickets to Bristol (half the price of going by train), and the bedroom is in need of a good tidy-up now that I actually have the inclination to move again. :P
Over and out.