One of the things that happened earlier in July was that the university hired me as part of a team that provides remote teaching support to instructors for the fall (My university is doing very little in the way of in-person classes.) I got a random email and realized that I had been “hired”. It took the person running it and I about 3 conversations and 2 days to realize that he had never managed a project and I had, so I introduced him to the concept of a project co-ordinator. He’s thrilled, he gets someone who keeps things organized and working and my ‘rather wounded by being dumped and then laid off in 36 hours’ self-esteem gets a boost.
I’m meant to work about 12 hours a week doing this. It’s enough to supplement my EI and while it puts me a very tiny amount over the allowable earnings, it’s not enough to cause mass consternation. It means that I haven’t had to dip into my savings yet, which is lovely. (The job market continues to be slow. While my employer is looking for work, I’m not sure that there is any to be had). That’s the useful backstory I needed to give you.
It’s been a bit of a scramble, figuring out an approach on the fly, organizing 13 people. The last few weeks have been more than 12 hours of work a week and I’m fine with that. There are still a few things outstanding. At the end of yesterday, as I sent out an update email, I was about to start apologizing (profusely) for not having something done.
Then I remembered something I had read. Something about giving away power and taking too much on. About not apologizing when you don’t mean it.
I’ve put in something like 20 hours this week and while that task needed to get done, it was nowhere near critical. I did the tasks that were critical, the tasks that keep things moving, that were going to make the project work. I used a certain amount of judgment and I acknowledged that as someone who has managed far larger and far more complex projects, this particular task could slide.
I didn’t apologize. I simply thanked my colleagues for their patience while I worked through a pile of things.
I got a note back that said “no worries.”
I cannot describe how much “thanks for being patient” made me feel. I wasn’t a screw up or a failure. I was a busy person, trying her best.