Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just N

When I arrived in January I had an hour long coffee chat with a life / career coach. We immediately got on very well, and that one hour proved to be a very interesting conversation providing a lot of food for thought. One question stuck with me : « What could be the positive aspects of change ? » It may sound silly, but I never considered this before. For me change was/is difficult, annoying, painful, disturbing, unbalancing, destabilizing, stressing, a wall I had to climb, to avoid…in one word : bad.
Anyway, I didn’t take the Life Coaching. Simply because I couldn’t afford it. So I was gladly surprised to find an email in my inbox yesterday from E, the Life Coach herself. To ask me how I was doing, how I was dealing with all the changes, and to have another cup in the Insead bar. Which we did today.
I’m still convinced she’s an interesting woman, who is very good at her job. She asks the right questions, and makes you think (hence this introspective post…). And it’s just nice to talk to someone "neutral" from time to time.

One of the things we discussed today, is my *need* for something to do. There’s the teaching of course, but alas reduced to 50 % of the hours as one of the students went back home. I could, as the cliché goes, "write a book". I just don’t feel the necessary enthusiasm when thinking about it (anyway, more than enough writing going on with this blog). There’s the gym, but I don’t hear anyone saying « wow, how good of you..Look at what you’ve done ! »
And maybe that’s what I’m missing most. Working hard at something, seeing results, and …getting acknowledged for it (be it in words, in gifts, in grades, in simply feeling proud of yourself or just in pure cold cash). It amazes me how much my job "defined" me, even if I wasn’t feeling 100% happy in it. I was N, the HR Advisor, 5 days a week, responsible for a whole lot of people and a whole lot of stuff. Now, I’m just N. And for my self-image and self-confidence that doesn’t seem to do it. Not an employee, not a wife, not a mom, not a student,…
Just N, in France. Writing a blog, making new friends from all over the world, being more socially involved than ever before, doing laundry, ironing too much shirts, encouraging P, living in a foreign country for the first time in my life, speaking every language but my own, dealing with more change than I can handle. Coming to think of it : more than enough !
(so why doesn’t it feel that way, and where is the acknowledgement …sigh)

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