The next meal

From Thursday I’m running the show in my department as the manager will be away on holiday. Basically, it means I’ll have a bit more work to do and a little less support, but it’s no big deal. I’ve done much more.

In general, I’m much more positive on the work front. The new role has given me a much higher profile and on view to a greater range of people. I’m fortunate that I’m the sort of person who appears competent and in control (even when I’m not), and I get a lot of brownie points because of that. No matter what else they think of me, most believe me to a reliable and capable operator. On top of that, now I’m in a position to innovate – my sweet spot – and that’s going well also. I think I’m well poised for higher duties if and when they come along.

Ideally, when the next opportunity comes along, it’s elsewhere.

I’ve just come from having coffee with the RM of the chatbot business we’re a client of. I met him about seven months ago, and we hit it off right from the word go. He’s about my age, an ex big-wig at Optus who’s trying his hand at the gig economy – he works on a contract basis, with other irons in the fire. We’re similar types, though he’s more garrulous than I am. We’d happily share a beer or two, but in the meantime, we’ve had a lot of coffee.

He’s moving into a venture of his own, which sounds fascinating and exciting. He’s sort of living the life I would if I could. In any case, he’s not sure about his tenure in his present role, but we’ve committed to keep in touch. All that is very cosy, but he also raised the option of me doing some work in his new venture if and when it gets off the ground – “no promises.” I think it’s unlikely anything will come of it, but it’s nice to be wanted.

A couple of weeks ago, I caught up with the ex-Digital Manager from here for coffee down St Kilda Road, where he works now. One of the first things he said to me is that he’s always looking out for opportunities for me. He’s one who thought I was under-valued and poorly used in my previous role, and was instrumental in me moving into my current position. One of the interesting things he said was that my last manager was scared of me, which is why she would sideline me. I thought this myself, but it was interesting to get it also from someone else.

Besides looking out for me, he gave me some advice to follow up on, believing still that I’ve got a lot more to offer .

All of this leads me to believe that something will give eventually. I’ve broadened my network, and there is apparent goodwill towards me from people I respect. You’d hope to think that’d translate into a job at some point.

There’s the moral aspect too. When I went through my tribulations, I wondered if I’d ever come out of them. And if I did, I wondered if I’d be the same man. I had big doubts, which is normal I’d suggest when you’re coming back from homelessness and virtual bankruptcy.

It’s funny; you even question the things that should be beyond question. There were times I wondered if I was a fraud. If my previous achievements were a fluke or exaggerated. I questioned if I was as smart as I’d thought I was, and if my experience was as valuable as I’d believed.

They call this impostor syndrome, and it’s quite common, I gather. That’s interesting in itself. I’d never really suffered from it before, but then I was like a shark that cruised the waters seeking my next meal.

And that’s the other part of it. Was I still a shark?

You know, attitude plays a big part. And when I call myself a shark, it wasn’t in any unfriendly way – simply that I was always on the lookout for the next opportunity, and didn’t pay much attention to any doubt. I just did it.

The big question was if I still had that mojo? I’ve asked that a lot in recent years, and the answer has been different every time. I think the answer is yes, but it’s different from before. And others recognise it, too.

All this is reassuring, for my material prospects, and my soul. I’ll wait to see what comes next, but I’m confident that whatever it is that I can do it.

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