Being back at my old desk in Blighty is a real comedown and I'm finding it hard to keep motivated or to put my new skills to use. I've got terribly itchy feet. Should I talk to those above me about renegotiating my role, or is it time to move on?
Whatever you do, do something. Mainly by chance, you've enjoyed an experience that has opened your eyes, filled you with confidence, energy and optimism and equipped you with new skills. If you just plonk yourself down behind that old desk of yours and stay there for more than a month or so, all that new exhilaration will have imperceptibly seeped away and you'll have wasted what could be a crucial turning point in your career.
Make all this clear quickly to those above you. You probably won't be popular: over-enthusiastic workers, suddenly demanding fast-track treatment, disturb the measured orderliness of most HR departments. Eccentrics and one-offs challenge the carefully worked out grading system. Somebody has already drawn up a draft career plan for all those at your level; and here you are, with no hint of gratitude, wanting to force the pace. Very untidy.
Well, don't despair, don't get ratty, just be politely persistent. Identify, if you can, a difficult job in the company that badly needs doing and volunteer for it. Emphasise the benefit to the company first; but don't ignore the point that your new-found skills and sense of enterprise mean you'll have an excellent chance of making a go of it. If your company depends at all on the energy, wit and self-starting abilities of its people (and has maintained some small element of management agility), you and they should soon achieve some satisfactory matchmaking.
Monitor all this with the keenest vigilance. The moment you begin to lose the buzz, to feel comfortable again, to wonder if it's worth the hassle, snap out of it immediately and go hunting. They say that the most wonderful sense of contentment people ever experience is just before they drown.