Winds of Change: Days 39-41

These past three days (days 39-41) have been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster.

On Day 39 (Tuesday) I came face to face with my unwillingness to prioritise tasks. I felt like a failure for not meeting a deadline for a news flash that would be published on my work’s website. My colleague, who does the news flashes with me, didn’t have hers prepared either.

I wrote about this weakness earlier. I do realise that deadlines are there for a reason and that they are one of the most important criteria writers have to meet. I really need to prioritise and schedule my life.

On Day 40 (Wednesday) I interviewed one of my country’s leading scientists in the studio at work. The sound system recorded the interview but there was no playback. This I only discovered the morning before the man arrived. The sound guys finished their work in the room on Tuesday and did a final check on the system. The mic and telephone played through the speakers but when when I played the recording on computer the speakers were silent. So, I called the guy who did the sound check the previous day to come and fix it. He said that he would come late afternoon. He didn’t. He only pitched up at 2pm the following day. We worked on the system the whole afternoon. I left work late.

I have two articles that are due today (Day 42) but I’ll only be able to finish one. I will ask for an extension on the other.

The interview with the scientist went okay. It could’ve gone better though. I stumbled over my words which we were told he hates. We had some trouble with our telephone line since we couldn’t receive calls; we could only make calls. He had two interviews scheduled for that morning: one with me and another with a radio station. The radio station’s interview took place first. Because of the problem with the telephone we had to call them. Both interviews were short.

Prior to the interviews I told him a little bit about my studies and about my co-promoter who does research in antimicrobial peptides. He wanted to know more about her research. It’s not directly in line with what he does but he does head an institute where they research defensins, human antimicrobial peptides. He also studies peptides but those of the endocrine system. He had to do an interview with a radio station before I interviewed him. But, the radio station couldn’t get through. The telephone line was engaged. So, we had to call them.

After the interviews were conducted, he told me that he would like to visit his friend, who is the head of the institute I work at, while the scientist waited for his shuttle to take him to his next appointment. I told him it’s fine and saw him off just outside the door of the studio under the assumption that he knew where his friend’s office was. Well, it turned out that he didn’t know. He didn’t even know where to exit the building. He ended up in my senior colleague’s office. The secretary of our department was there so she took him to see his friend. I later found out that the head of my institute’s office is at another branch in another city. The colleague who told me this said that it’s pretty embarrassing. I really felt like an idiot.

Feelings of incompetence, sadness and inadequacy set in. I really felt like running away, like I could bury my head in the sand and wish it all away. Add to that the malaise of not prioritising out of fear of not having time to do what I love doing, of not having a life, of being so consumed with work (like I was for 12 years of my scholastic career). I really felt small. Plus there’s the fact that all the pathogens I grew in the lab for my postgrad degree died. I had to start a new batch from freezer stocks. I felt pretty down. All these feelings inspired me to write Morning Lark. I also feel guilty for not giving my postgrad degree the attention it deserves and having to face my promoters shamefacedly in the near future. I wish I always made the right decisions. Life would be so much better had I been perfect. But, fortunately/unfortunately I’m not. I made some bad choices.

My colleagues will most definitely report my failures to our boss on Monday when she’s back at work. I will be reprimanded for it.

Throughout our meeting I felt like the scientist I interviewed was judging me, sizing me up. I don’t know whether I passed the test and I don’t really want to care but the fact is I do care. I always feel that way in the presence of greatness. My primary promoter is one such person. He is a world renowned scientist too.

I feel like I have some serious false beliefs about my career. And I wish someone could help me sort it out. I’ve had great help with working through my porn, masturbation and exhibitionistic-thought addictions. I need help with my career and how the work place works. I’ve buried my head in my books way too long.

In times like these I just want to write and think about other things. I’m happy when I write. But, I have to face reality. I have to prioritise and execute those priorities. I need to work with a schedule. God help me.


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