Thursday, 16 May 2013

Is this how it goes?

Posted by Jean Adams

Is this how it goes? You get promoted to lecturer and you are suddenly fair game for teaching; you get promoted to senior lecturer and you are suddenly fair game for chairing non-research committees?

Don’t get me wrong. I was pretty damn chufferoonied to get the letter about the promotion. I still can’t quite believe I have blagged my way so very far – me, just a bookish, boyish little girl who likes playing with yarn and fabric and screams if you make her wear a skirt. I often wonder what exactly the the promotions committee was thinking.

At the moment I seem to find myself constantly petrified by the next new thing I have been asked to do, can’t think of a reason to say no to, and yet have no idea quite how to do. Will I chair the Fuse Communications Group? Well, I could do....but I haven’t ever chaired a big meeting like that, and it sounds like an important enough job that you wouldn’t want to give it to an amateur to mess up. Will you lead a group developing new social media guidance for the institute? Emmm, I guess I could do....but that sounds like something with massive s**t:fan potential, are you sure you want to have to dig me out when that all goes wrong?

Being a grown up is just like skiing - that is definitely me on the near horizon
I did enough outdoor ed things as a kid to know all about how much being a grown up is just like skiing/abseiling/catching a horse. If you don’t do these things with confidence you end up in a heap of ski equipment with snow down your jacket/hanging upside down hoping your hips are big enough to stop the rest of you slipping out of your harness/sat in a pile of horse poo. But confidence doesn’t mean arrogance. There is always more to learn and it pays to observe the instructor even when they’re not instructing.

And so I adopt my usual air of confidence, hoping that no-one will notice I have no idea what I am doing, and spend all other meetings I go to watching the chair and trying to figure out how you are supposed to chair a meeting.

It is possible that this is exactly what my parents had in mind when they signed me up for all those summer camps all those years ago. But I doubt it. I think they were mostly just glad there was something I would enjoy enough to let them go to grown ups’ camp.

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