Yesterday I was invited to a mini-conference in one of IBM’s London offices. Given my current health situation I’d probably normally have politely declined, but the topics were of interest, and the people who were invited to attend were almost without exception doing the role that I would like to transfer into when I get back to work. I’ve also worked with a lot of them over the years in one form or another, and they’re an interesting group of people who are always good to chat with. So this seemed like an ideal opportunity to catch up with what’s currently important at work, have a good chat with everyone, and find out what kind of opportunities they thought might be available in their area of the business around the turn of the year.
And I must admit, I had a fantastic day. I dropped the kids off at their bus stop, and drove up to London. As usual, it took about 90 minutes, but somehow although the roads were busy, I never seemed to get completely snarled up in the traffic. The journey went smoothly, I got a parking space right next to the office doors, and arrived just in time to grab some breakfast in the canteen.
I then literally spent the rest of the day running into and catching up with people, and having a great time listening to and debating the business, where it’s going and how we’re going to drive it forward. And I was completely amazed at the number of people who wanted to make time to chat to me about how I am, how my treatment is progressing, and when I’m going to be back in work. I felt really valued and missed by my friends and colleagues, which was most humbling. I only wish I could have stayed longer and talked with more people at the end of the day over “drinks and nibbles”, but unfortunately by then my energy reserves had completely run out, and I knew that the drive home would be tiring too.
So thanks to everyone who I saw and talked with yesterday. One of my concerns about being off ill for so long has always been about how difficult it’s going to be to reintegrate myself back into the world of work. My experiences yesterday have left me with no doubts that I’m going to initially find it quite physically demanding when I return to work, but that my friends and colleagues are all going to be there to help and support me.
I’m lucky to be able to work with such people.