After months of pretending its not going to happen and weeks of trepidation, this week I am back at work as my maternity leave ends. I managed to take longer than for my other children and I have mum-in-law staying to help with the school run and to take care of Darling. My dad-in-law is also coming from Pakistan this week, so I will have additional help with the children insh’Allah.
I visited work with the baby last week to help prepare for my return and I found myself feeling very anxious and out of place when I turned up. Saying hello to colleagues and meeting with my manager helped so that when I turned up on Monday to decide who’s desk I was going to take (we hot desk and as an early bird, I always get first choice of seat) I felt a lot calmer.
Still, I am struggling a little. After being at home for months, I find it hard to sit still for long periods or to stare at the computer screen for long. My manager has yet to allocate any work to me, so I still feel a little like a spare part despite clearing the almost eight hundred e-mails in my inbox and setting up all of my systems in the first few hours and catching up with what has been happening over the last eight months on the first day.
I have also returned to find that much of the most interesting part of my work (programme and project management) seems to have been dropped and the part I cannot bear (performance management and running surveys for research) increased. If this remains the case, each day is likely to be full of me clock-watching and waiting to rush out of the door at four in the afternoon. I do not believe in doing things by halves, I always want to do a good job and I believe in earning my wages fairly by doing the best job I can.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I know there are so many people struggling to find work, especially in today’s economic climate and this is a good job where I am treated reasonably (apart from the restructure and threat of redundancy that seems to appear again every two years). At the same time I cannot feel passionate about performance reports and excel spreadsheets. Life seems so short and I have so many dreams, so many ideas and such a yearning to spend every waking minute working towards those dreams. Alhamdulillah I am being paid whilst I dream and plan and find ways to make things happen. At the same time, that stretch from seven to four looks like it may become unbearable and I do not want to end up in a position where the highlight of every day is lunch.
Insh’Allah, I intend to do the best I can with my job. I hope to bring creativity and passion to whatever element of it that I can use to interest and motivate myself. I believe that when you have good intentions and at least make the effort, Allah (SWT) blesses that effort and brings good things from it.
Update: I wrote the above yesterday, today I was finally allocated my workload and it turned out to be virtually no performance reporting and mainly two or three interesting, meaty projects (our organisation's asset management, tackling worklessness and assessing leisure provision in the borough) which I am looking forward to working on. Alhamdulillah, that's a relief.