Collecting my thoughts about this new job and place has been more difficult than I anticipated. Collecting my thoughts in general, in fact, is proving a challenge. Multi-tasking has never been something I particularly enjoyed; if a thing is worth working on, then I feel it's worth my full attention. ACS has a lot of things going on all at once, all of them needing my full attention... all at once. Or at least it seems that way now. When I get to be more of an expert, my hope is that assessing priorities will become more natural. Knowing how to triage seems like the key skill for this branch of consular work. Maybe for any type of service work.
Normally when I want to collect myself I'll seek out some alone time. Unfortunately, there's nowhere quiet or private to go in or around the embassy -- no tucked-away benches to sit on outside, no spare rooms, no little coffee shops within easy there-and-back-again-over-a-lunch-break walking distance. Not that I've found, at any rate. Space is at a premium, so this is understandable. Right now they're doing construction in the office area behind the client windows; today, the staff had a party with cake, also right behind the windows. It takes all my willpower not to turn around and say "Shhhh!" every five minutes. I must look more distressed than I had realized, as the Consular Chief this morning kindly offered me the use of her office should I need it. Part of me cringed. I have to remember to smile more when I'm trying to focus.
Meanwhile, I'm keeping a running list of 'Areas for Potential ACS Improvement'. I haven't really shared this with anyone; at this point, it's more like a hobby. It seems wise to figure out the logic behind current office priorities and systems first before making potentially disruptive observations -- more of that triaging skill I'm hoping to better develop. I don't want to throw off the established feng shui before I fully understand the consequences.
You are never qualified for the job you're going into, only for the job you just left. It's not exactly a comforting thought, but it's a true one. I want to be completely competent -- right now! -- so that I can quit bothering my colleagues, so that I can gain the confidence of the staff, so that I can help those people on the other side of the glass... but of course it takes time.
To give myself something else to fuss about, I bought a geranium:
We'll see if it fares better than the ones in Osaka.