Well actually that should read Sunday... It's the day when the stress of the week really kicked off, and I became a bit of a wreck. Well, a lot of a wreck actually.
For some stupid reason I managed to notice the clock at some point in the afternoon and the thought 'in 15 hours I'll be telling my team' came to mind. Stupid! If anything is sure to make me panic and stress it's counting down hours until something happens... I called my parents and had a long chat with my mum - who again offered to fly here to be with me during the week and managed to get me somewhat calmed down - and ordered me to have a cognac (a Christmas pressent from my parents last year) to help.
Sunday night I pretty much did not sleep. I went to bed and took a valerian tablet to help me relax and it worked; for a few hours. Then I was awake, panicing and stressing in bed from 2:30 until 5:40 when the alarm went off. I managed to do some breathing exercises to make sure I got some rest even if sleep did alude me.
I got to work on Monday morning then the stress hit me completely, I honestly can't tell you what I did for the first two hours (except check my watch every couple of minutes to see if it was time for the team meeting). We all made our way to the meeting room and rather than try to talk around the issue and lead up to it I just said what was going to happen the next morning. It seemed the easiest way. Cue lots of shock, and one guy in the team looking like a bowling ball for a couple of minutes. Then a few questions, a bit of explanation and a some talk. All of it positive, no negative reactions at all. Phew :)
When we ran out of questions I told my team that the other department meeting that was planned later in the morning was to tell everyone else, and at the same time the other business unit managers would be telling their people too; and asked them not to discuss it in front of others until that time. Saying that caused the stress that was receding to start building again and our web master came out with a fantastic phrase for me...
'If anyone gives you any grief about this, just tell them that your team is completely behind you'
I don't think I could have asked for a better reaction than that from him!
30 mins of stressing again and we were in the biggest meeting room, with the whole department - about 30 people I think. My boss was giving the news, with me there to answer any questions that I felt I could answer but with the instruction that if I got to stressed I was just to leave. He brought the news over to the team 'X is in a process of transition and as of tomorrow we will have a female team lead in IT, Stacy.' Cue lots of quizzical faces and our one female developers asking the question that I have since found out was in the minds of a few others. 'But what will X be doing as of tomorrow then?' I couldn't help but smile here, and answered that I was going to be Stacy. My boss said some other things (which I can't remember) and asked if there were any questions. None came back and so we went back to work. Well we didn't... I got back to my room to find it filled with people and we spent the next 30 minutes chatting about it. Again the reactions I had were great. There were the people who were shocked, and the people who said something along the lines of 'I always knew that you were somewhat feminine, but never really thought anything of it.'
The rest of the day I tried to keep working (failed miserably) and tried to make some calls to ex-colleagues so that they found out from me and not from other people. There were 4 people that I really wanted to tell in person (well 5, but one is visiting family back in India so I knew he couldn't be there) and so I tried to arrange to see them. I think I managed to scare a few people that day. 'Hi it's X. I have some news for you, but it's not something I really want to tell you over the phone. Can you meet me in a cafe at 4:30?' Now... I made these calls between 12:30 and 2:30 PM, not giving people much time to be able to get there, and I was expecting a rather 'hmm, that could be really difficult' response. The first person I called couldn't make it - he was in bed sniffling - so I had to tell him over the phone.
Wow... Really! You're not joking?! (I've become accustomed to the last one in recent days) was the response. This is a person that I was dreading telling, there is a story somewhere on this blog about why - he has come out with a very scary story in the past - but he was fine. 'You are still going to BBQ next year aren't you?' was one of his responses. We had a bit of a chat, which was cut short as my boss then called my phone to find out where I was as I was late for the team lead meeting (oops).
The others just commented that it was very mysterious and that they would be there. Including a guy on the other side of the country in a business meeting (which he said he couldn't concentrate on after the call as he thought something very serious was wrong).
At 4:30 I got the cafe where two of the group where already there, we chatted for a while as we had to wait for the last to turn up (he brought his wife with him as we know each other as well) and when everyone had their drinks and we were all sitting down they demanded to know what was wrong. I told them. Three times. Again: No?! Really?! You're joking aren't you? When they understood that it was not a joke and the shock had worn off a little we chatted for an hour. It turns out that they all had the same couple of thoughts. I'd quit and wanted a job (they all have their own companies since leaving the company I work for). I'd quit to start my own company and wanted some freelance work. I'd started my own company and had an amazing idea for a startup but needed some collaboration to get it off the ground (I wish...). I was seriously ill and not long for this world (thankfully not! That is thankfully not serious ill, not thankfully not long for this world).
The wife of my friend said that we needed a getting to know Stacy party in the new year. I like the idea, after all I don't see these people day in, day out and I would be good for them to meet the real me sooner rather than later. I am just not sure if I am going to be hosting a winter BBQ (I like the idea I must admit) or just to go for drinks one evening after work.
The responses from all were amazing, and I was really impressed that I have friends who will drop everything and drive across the country if something is important. We are not the closest of friends (we see each other 4 or 5 times a year at most) but obviously we are very good friends - that was a little overwhelming when I stopped to think about it.
We had to leave before one of our party had his car clamped - he had not put enough money in the machine to park very long :) And I still had a couple of people that I needed to tell - unfortunately I knew that I was not going to be able to tell them in person so I had to call.
One was another ex-colleague from where I work now, and I always watch at least one match of the 6 nations with her. I called her, told her and guessed correctly from her voice that she already knew (I kind of figured that she would do as she is close friends with a few people in my department still). She was very supportive, and came out almost immediately with 'You're are still coming to the 6 nations aren't you? You're not going to make me go on my own?' Again we chatted for a while about this and other things before I had to go. I was home by now and needed to cook, then there was one last call of the day.
This time to a colleague who I worked with a while ago. Again he took it fantastically, and made sure I was still throwing my yearly BBQ in the summer. I don't think I could have asked for better responses so far.
After that it's a bit of a blur and exhaustion was really setting in. My parents called to check how I was doing, I watched Only Connect (wonderful program - makes you feel really stupid ;p) and went to bed. And slept!
Sorry for the long post, but I guess there was a lot to tell!