I am officially a consultant. I've got business cards and everything*. I'm back on the intranet.
I've just pressed send on my first piece of work.
And I'm terrified. This wasn't a particularly tricky piece of work. It was for a client I know well (probably better than anyone else in the firm, which is why they want me to do it) and it's the sort of thing I like doing and I know I'm good at. But what if it's wrong?
Because I've suddenly registered that here, 350 miles from the office, secretary-less, mentor-less, team-less, if something goes wrong, I have only myself to blame.
Now for the moment, this is ok. That work was ok, and I think I've done it, erm, ok. But I know there's more coming my way. And there's going to be stuff in there that I won't know how to do. In an office, that's easy, I'd have popped next door and said something like "I know I should know how to do this but....". But I can't do that here. Here, there's just me. And there are only so many stupid questions you can ask someone who's employing you to do something before they start wondering why they're bothering to pay you instead of just doing it themselves.
And the thing is, I know, logically, that I can do this. I know, realistically, that this is what I'm trained to do. I know I've been doing it well for the last ten years. I know I must be good at it because they keep telling me I am, and honestly, they surely wouldn't be paying me to do it if they didn't think it was worth it. The problem is, I don't believe them.
I'm not sure I ever trusted that my abilities were as great as others expected them to be, but whether I did or not, I certainly don't now. It's actually only two months since I was in the office, but it could be twenty years. I'm rusty, and creaky, and things have changed and are changing and I don't know how, any more, to keep up with them. I don't have time to read the ordinary press, much less the legal version. I don't know if the stuff I've forgotten is stuff that's changed and therefore I'm right to forget it, or stuff that I still need. And if it has changed, I don't know what's replaced it...
And yet they are paying me to be someone who knows, who reads, who remembers. And I want to be. I just don't know how to trick myself into believing that I am.
*Actually, that's a lie, they told me they were going to order some but wanted to check I'd use them, and given I only use the ones I've got already for shopping lists and bookmarks I decided they probably weren't worth the £80.
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