So that was my first week back at work. It went well. In fact it went by without any real incident, so it’s difficult to talk about in any detail. I have to go through training again, which is being handled via patchy one-to-one coaching with an old colleague. Today, being Friday, was a dress-down day, which meant that I was wearing a t-shirt. I was very slightly nervous about it, but it’s actually kind of difficult to remember that my scars might have any impression on other people, so once I was there I didn’t really think about it much.
I think they’re being gentle with me, which is nice but kind of boring. But I guess it’s a kind of mutual re-establishment of trust. The truth is, I’m much more able to deal with work now than I ever was before. I’m not dangerously tired and I’m not having to deal with my life falling to pieces around me. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a job where I’m not constantly exhausted. Just being able to deal with mornings is astoundingly nice. I get up and have time for a leisurely coffee or two, do all the usual morning stuff and have a reasonable amount of flexibility built into my journey into work, so it doesn’t really matter if my bus is late. When I was working before I’d be so tired that I’d hit snooze until I eventually dragged myself out of bed in time to pull some clothes on, maybe brush my teeth and lurch out the door.
Breaks last a lot longer when you don’t have to rush outside for a cigarette. In fact it’s a year ago today that I gave up smoking (my last cigarette was actually sometime around Christmas, but I made the decision to quit on November 28th 2007 ). It might not have been the perfect time to quit, but it was so worthwhile in the end.
Looking back, I think the best preparation for going back to work was the volunteering. It let me get used to being around people again in a work-like environment. I’m continuing to volunteer there now, which seems to work out well. With the sleep being pretty much sorted out now (and hopefully for the future too), I don’t have to worry about being awake for things. I enjoy it, and the really good thing is: I’m actually developing skills and experience for my future career. I kind of like my job - it’s fairly easy, but engaging enough that it’s not mind-crushingly boring - but even with 16 hours logged so far, I know it’s not something I want to do for too long. It’s scary to see so many people around who are in pretty much the same roles they were in when I left.
In short, everything’s working out pretty damn well. It’s really good to be back at work and 16 hours seems to be well within my tolerances at the moment.