I woke up at 0345 this morning - half an hour before the alarm was due to sound. I rolled out of bed & dragged myself to the shower, counting the seconds until the coffee percolator finished doing it's thing.
Got dressed, into the car for an hours drive to the nearest airport, detouring around streets closed by floodwater. The plane was 15 minutes late leaving but the flight was blissfully uneventful. Catch two trains and a twenty minute walk to reach my destination.
Into the lift and I start to shake. I'm about to walk into a room I've never seen before and meet a bunch of people I've never met for the first time - including my CEO. You know him - the bloke I called unladylike names when he pushed me outside my comfort zone.
I don't "do" cities as a rule. I'm not a great lover of crowds of people - I kind of walk too slow for the flow if you know what I mean. When I come to the city it's usually for the Art Galleries or the shopping. I'm not that comfortable moving around in places when I don't know the lay of the land.
I pause outside the lift to acclimatise a little and I hear the murmur of voices through the dividing wall. I'm expected today - but only by a few people. I make myself walk in the door (can't chicken out now) and stop to get a look at the room.
Alex calls my name and Alice and Ee greet me with wonderful smiles before they get straight back to work. Josh Vogel looks up from across the room, walks over and gives me a great big bear hug. We chat for a while. Uri smiles a shy "hello" as he walks past. From Javiera - a great big hug and "what took you so long to get here Mel?" Bek and Kait are both on the phone but Kristin walks over and we chat for a while as I finish my Egg & Bacon Roll and unearth my second coffee of the day.
11.30 rolls around and I join the regular content team stand up online with Jimmy, Anindo, Adam, Eric, Thomas, Andy, Daniel, Coopper and Stretch. Eric liked some content I produced yesterday and "dobbed me in" to the rest of the team - making sure I got my share of the credit for the idea.
I told Tom Moore he just may take the record for being the only Boss I ever had who I wanted to hug instead of fight with.
Around this time in March last year, my car died and I was made redundant from my nine year job in the same week. I had a history of being the "difficult" employee in the team - the one that everyone was afraid to talk to because they never knew how she was going to react. The perpetual outsider - vital to the efficiency of the team but hard to get along with.
I thanked that manager for that redundancy when he rang me a few weeks ago to explore a potential opportunity. Can't wait to see where that takes me.
The song "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits is playing in my headphones as I write - I promise you by pure coincidence.
What do you do when you find yourself working with people who are all about helping people, who support each other to truly make a difference in the lives of others.
You stand on solid ground for the first time in years. You throw your arms in the air,
And you roar!