Wednesday, May 8, 2013

euphoric fog

Can it really be true? I am a doctor? A doctor of management….what does that really mean? I can’t quite embrace the idea just yet.

It’s very difficult to focus on my job today; my head is still swimming. I was half-heartedly preparing for my defense on Monday night while knowing there was less than 24 hours before the appointed time. In the back of my mind, I knew somebody would forget or something would come up, and it would have to be rescheduled. But then late in the evening, my chairman texted me (first time he had ever initiated communication in any form) and asked if I was ready for my big event. That brought on instant panic. OMG!! He hasn’t forgotten me. This thing might really go down Tuesday night and I’m not ready.

So all day yesterday, I worried about what questions they might ask me, and was mad at myself for not preparing better. As soon as I got home from work, I ran through my presentation three times and studied notes. By 8:30, I was a total basket case. Dry mouth, heart pounding, unable to sit in my chair, I paced the floor, practiced karate, walked outside (in the rain) and paced the driveway a bit, and waited. I haven’t been so nervous since the hours before my wedding years ago. Then I called in and waited…and waited. Dr. Chairman called me on my cell and said the phone number for the conference call was answered by a French-speaking person. OH HELL!! I published the wrong phone number. I gave him the correct number (off by 1 digit) and raced to email the others with the correct number. They both called me before I could send the email out. Anyway, it was a very rough start and surely that was no careless mistake – I quadruple-checked the phone number and passcode before sending it out. It must have been some form of subversive self-sabotage.

So we finally all arrived in the conference call.  Dr. Chairman greeted and kicked off, then turned it over to me. The presentation is still a blur. I was so nervous (especially at first) that I could hardly breathe. It was like trying to talk with my mouth full of cotton balls. With 30 minutes to present, I blazed through my slides. Last slide finished, conclusions, then the dreaded call for questions. What a pleasant surprise!  That was actually the easiest part of all. They all asked questions that were somewhat off topic that were very easy for me to just BS my way through. That part done, Dr. Chairman asked me to drop off the line and call back in three minutes. When I called back, it was congratulations from everyone, I thanked them all, and it was over.

About 15 minutes later, Dr. Chairman called back to discuss next steps…like a whole page of them because after the third thing he said, I started making a list. I learned that this doctoral thing is not done….it’s really only beginning.

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