I finally understand the overwhelming feeling of not caring that some people display in life. As my time in my current position at a client comes to an end and my sabbatical looms heavily on my mind like the mood swings i had as a teenager, I have begun to have the feeling i had when I rebelled as teenager and said “I don’t care”. Maybe I am fooling myself and saying I don’t care, because it is easier to deal with the pain I am feeling. The pain of a love unrequited, the pain of a longing unfulfilled. The corporate world is ruthless, so they say and I have seen it, experienced it.
I have spent 2 and half years in an amazing team where by the fate of the Gods and luck, I never got to work with a product from end to end and see it sent into market. Someone else would be commissioned to take over as my skill-set was required elsewhere and for those who work in a consulting nature, there is nothing as fulfilling as having your hard work being realised and seeing it being used in the ‘real world’. Nothing as exhilarating as that Saturday night, that you count down the hours to a forbidden ‘o’clock of ‘Go-Live’ and start the process of moving your teams creation from an equivalent of a test lab and into the world for the people to enjoy. I feel like a lecturer, who spent his time teaching but could not watch his students prepare for the exams and worse off attend their graduation.
I live and breathe the work that I do and get so invested emotionally. The day my project was cancelled (I was the Lead on the project), I got a call from my Project Manager at around 1730 on a Friday afternoon and she broke the news. Like a man rejected because of circumstances he can never change, I was broken. I cried, silent tears, they flowed down my cheek like the flow of rain water down the urban streets of Johannesburg. I was broken for I had spent 16 months on this, never took a sick day off, working on weekends, working on public holidays, I dreamt about work, I fantasized of the day we would take this beast live. It was a hard project, we were endeavoring to do something that had not been done before in the client environment and I was enjoying it. We proved it could work in the test labs and we were about to take it to the world. Maybe that is the reason, I pretend to not care, maybe that is why I look forward to my sabbatical with such glee.
A chance to reset myself, my mind, psyche and come back again a clean cold consultant. No strings attached (not referring to Nsync) but to the way a consultant is meant to enter a business and show where the value lies and where there is no value. Not getting attached to the work, for it can be fleeting and sometimes it can be a long period in the client space where the lines become blurred like an agent who has been undercover too long, and you begin to share the values and dreams of the organisation, your blood begins to change colour to the colour of the client. I was in too long and too deep and my blood changed from neutral to a viscous blue….
This pain is not as bad as the one my left arm is experiencing at the moment, I received three shots from the Travel Doctor (mainly boosters for Hepatitis A+B) and the Hepatitis shot literally burnt through my arm. The pain wasn’t helped by the invoice i received afterwards for the services plus the cost of my malaria pills. I knew travelling was expensive but R1500 is a shot my wallet could do without! The doctor warned me that due to the length of my trip she is recommending a pill to take weekly for malaria instead of the daily dosage. The ‘downside’ is that IF I am a drinker or partake in the occasional ‘herb’ the side effects of pill include what I believe she was saying in a nice way ‘psychotic dreams’. I am not sure how i feel about waking up in the middle of Zambia or Uganda, having a psychotic dream! I am fully vaccinated and physically ready for the demands of travelling on the road. My yellow card certificate is beginning to look like my passport, full of stamps and updates for all the vaccinations required! It will be nearly impossible to spend 4 months on the road and not get sick but prepared than never. My current manager was in Lagos, Nigeria for an extended period of time and contracted typhoid and malaria at the same time, we still debate how he got typhoid with the winning story being that he drank shower water!
I am nearly ready for the trip, I will attempt to get some visas in the next week for Rwanda and Burundi however this is not critical as I should theoretically be applying for them when I get closer to the countries. I can feel a sense of fear like a man walking a pool of darkness with no light and not knowing what is in this water of darkness. I am an avid traveller but this is different. I have been ‘steeling’ my mind for the various challenges that I know exist especially with African border crossings. Airport control has nothing on the chaos that one endures at land crossing borders especially ones used predominantly by cargo trucks and migrants shopping or returning to their homelands. In 10 days, the journey into my homelands begins……16 December 2015