I recently learned that I'd been selected to participate in an intensive week-long program for work. It's a program designed for "Emerging Leaders". (Yeah, I know... weird, huh?) I know a few friends who have gone through the program but honestly didn't know much about it. We joke that it's a cult because the folks that go through it tend to remain friends yet reveal little to others about the experience.
I got an email from the head of HR telling me I was invited to attend the program. I knew it was an honor but had no idea how I'd been selected. I didn't even know who threw my name in the ring. Yesterday, after running my boss through some ideas I was working on, the program came up in conversation. I asked her how I'd been invited. She said "You were nominated! It's a very big deal. Only three other people in our division, worldwide, are going and you're one of them!" I was dumbstruck. She told me that when she did reviews last year, management asked her to think about somebody for the program. She named me. I'm still sort of shocked. I'm not being artificially humble here... I REALLY am shocked. So many people I work with have decades of experience in our field while I'm fairly new to it. It feels as though I'm always learning new aspects of our business that others take for granted. I grow more comfortable in my role each day but still feel like a rookie quite often.
While feeling very flattered about this whole thing I was also a little nervous. I work for a very large international company so participants are from all over the world. It's not like you show up knowing anyone. The first evening is a cocktail mixer. Spanx may be involved since I'll probably have to dress professionally and that never makes me happy. (We dress pretty casually at work.) Now, I tend to be pretty outgoing but walking into a bar full of strangers is not my idea of a good time. Well, today I learned that a woman I really enjoy is also attending. Thank God!!! I've worked with her for about a year but not day-to-day. She's somebody I have a lot in common with and have actually tried to get to know better by setting up lunches but our schedules just never seem to coordinate. I called her today to congratulate her on being selected and to tell her I'd be there too. We literally screamed together on the phone. It was a very 13 year-old-girl moment for me. We were relieved to know we'd have a friendly face to look for in that crowd of about 30 strangers. The program is all about breaking out of your comfort zone and getting to know ourselves better. Yeah, yeah, yeah... I'm just so damn happy I'll be able to finally get to know her better. We agreed that if we had to be sequestered with anyone we were happy to be going through this together. I'm actually looking forward to the program now.
Here's the bad news: I have homework! Can you imagine?! I haven't had homework in 15 years. I wasn't even good at it when I was in the thick of college. I'm hoping the novelty of it will carry me through. This will definately interfere with my Harry Potter reading. And it's not as though I'll have time to read while at the hotel either. We have to show up at the hotel on a Sunday and will not be released until the following Thursday. I hear we're booked from about 8:30 am - 10:00 pm each night. Good Lord! I'm out of the office for much of August. About half of it is for vacation days while the other half will be spent traveling for work. I try not to look at my calendar too much these days because it's making me hyperventilate a bit. (Breathe... breathe.) I'll be sure to keep ya "posted"!