Friday, December 14, 2007

I did it.

I replied to some email when I had a short break this afternoon. Boss requested a meeting for next week and said he hoped we could discuss how my visit had gone in addition to Problematic Paper and giving a talk to the group.

The visit is going well so far - I felt very good about the talk and it stimulated a good deal of discussion which I always take as a good sign. I'm exhausted, honestly, and have 3 more meetings left. But while my talk ran long - over an hour and another 20 minutes of discussion - lunch was short. So I have a bit of time to relax before my next set of meetings. But it's been lovely - everyone's very friendly and has offered feedback or ideas or information about what they study. So I've enjoyed myself tremendously.

To provide a bit more detail, I can say that I slept reasonably well, but felt slow. But I drank coffee and nibbled on toast and powered through. I had three meetings before my talk and left the third a bit early to make sure I had ample time to set up. Everything was plugged in and displaying properly, so I decided to connect to the wireless network and check my email.
As people started to filter in, I introduced myself and made small talk. I felt I was rather charming and funny throughout the experience - I felt comfortable and relaxed, which speaks highly of their environment. It's a lovely place.

Leader introduced me very well, not glancing at the notes he'd made on my background as he listed institutions I've attended and degrees I've earned. I glanced around at the relatively small auditorium, standing as I was on the small elevated area in the front, and smiled when I noticed that though it was standing room only, I felt fine about telling them what I knew.

The talk, I think, was excellent. The data, however, are sketchy. But the story was told well, I was open about problems and focused on strengths. I stumbled once when one man leaned over to another and began to talk. I almost asked if he had something to share with the group - but the thought amused me - so it took me a moment to regain my balance. The next stumble came when I glanced at the large screen next to me and saw the black box in the corner that told me I had new mail. So leaving the Gmail notifier on while giving a talk is a bad idea. Being logged into your blog email account while doing that is even worse. Yet nobody from that location has shown up on site stats, so we'll continue on. (And it happened twice - I got 2 blog emails during the talk and I know this because I had to click on the Gmail notifier, say "Well, that's not good." and try to regain my balance and keep talking. It strikes me as funny now, but honestly. I don't normally do idiotic crap like that in public.)

The questions were good and I felt great about my responses. I argued a couple points, conceded some others, and offered advice on things I knew but hadn't directly done to other people. And I enjoyed it. I felt confident and smart and though I'm pretty sure some of the audience members would have argued that last part, that's OK. It's also OK that I felt like I was being politely brushed off at the final meeting with Leader. He'll call in the new year but they're looking at a range of candidates with many levels of experience and different interests.

"We need to figure out our priorities." He told me. "I think your background and skills and interests fit in and complement our goals very well. But it's a matter of finding out what we need most and who brings that most effectively."

I agreed. I liked the group very much and want them to take the necessary steps to succeed. I also want them to like me. We'll see if the two coincide, but my feeling at this point is that they probably won't. Which is fair - it'd be a tough job with high expectations and I'm honestly not sure one person could do everything they want. I'm also not completely confident that I want that lifestyle. But I would like an offer and expressed my strong interest in working with them.

I was upset on the way home - the mixture of a realistic ending to the days of meetings, wondering if I just thought I was all lovely and they thought I was icky, being absolutely exhausted and out of resources and facing a lengthy drive south - but gathered my composure. I talked to Friend, which helped, and had dinner with Carrie after she asked me to come fetch her a bit early. We ate and talked and I dropped her off at her hotel again - I'll pick her up tomorrow morning, but she wanted to sleep there and enjoy the amenities. I returned home to a very happy, cuddly dog and a "can we play dot now?" cat. I put my suitcase in my room and plugged in my laptop to check my email.

I blinked to prevent tears but wasn't completely successful. Boss had replied to my update quite simply.

"Wonderful." He wrote. "I'm very proud of you."

It reminded me of all the people in my life that I love. My parents - we talked several times over the weekend, Little One (who told me about french fries when Mom called on my drive south), Friend and Carrie and friends who send supportive comments on my blog. If these people have some affection for me - if they feel proud of me - then I'm doing something right. For tonight - and hopefully for the next few weeks while I wait and think and enjoy the holidays - that's more than enough.


Amanda said...

Congratulations on having done it!

Estrella said...

Good for you!

Propter Doc said...

Yay! It's done! Yay!

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