I've been doing acting higher duties since mid-March, with some mixed feelings.
The people are very nice, the extra money doesn't go amiss, and it's very good for my resume. This one fills in a lot of the boxes that I couldn't quite tick on my last promotion application: experience as a team leader, managing a work program, etc. etc. All very useful experience.
But it's "business as usual" support in an area that supports about a dozen different things, with more stuff getting thrown at me all the time. It feels like playing eight games of Tetris simultaneously, which is not a great fit to my personality. I can do it, with a lot of effort, and so far I seem to be coping okay. But I find that kind of work very fatiguing, and frankly I don't think it's ever going to be my strongest point.
Also, accepting this position meant walking away from a really interesting project on constrained optimisation balancing (except I'm still involved with that project because I'm developing the theory for it and I've got a technical paper which is now up to 65 pages and I will happily talk your ear off about it but it's not in my job description).
My HDA is due to expire at the end of July, but my director was making noises about extending it, which... yeah, dilemma. Want promotion, feel like I'm ready for it, don't want to end up stuck in that team for a couple of years, and he wants somebody long-term. (Turnover for that role has been at Defence Against the Dark Arts level; I think we've had six team leaders in about five years.)
And then somebody said "hey, I take it you've seen the ad for a Constrained Optimisation Team Leader?", which I hadn't, and would've missed entirely if they hadn't called it to my attention.
So the backstory to that particular position is that a year ago I did a presentation to a client area where I said "hey, you know all the things you dislike about your current system? Let me show you how constrained optimisation can fix them!" Apparently my sales pitch was effective enough that they decided to set up a small team to do that thing, and then the guy who probably would've been leading it decided to go back to France, so they had a vacancy.
All in all, if I'd been writing the job ad to give myself a free kick, I couldn't have done much better. (I guess in a sense I did write the ad, indirectly...) And I was able to get a good reference from Outgoing Team Leader French Guy, and the lady running the process happens to be the same one who's been signing off on drafts of my tech paper.
Still, you never know for sure how these things are going to turn out, so I was stressing about this one. Also, it was advertised as a Canberra-based position, and I'm not in a hurry to move back there. But today I had a very nice chat that began with "well you were clearly the outstanding applicant" so I've got the job. They don't mind that I have three weeks travel scheduled in August, in fact, the trip meshes nicely with the work I'd be doing. And they're willing to let me work from Melbourne.
(Funny thing about my work: some sections are happily spread across eight or nine separate offices, others are very localised. I've been working in virtual teams for the last 7-ish years, it's rare that I have ANY team-mates in the same office, but this section is all Canberra-based. Except for me, I guess!)
And also I was presented with a major award at work today (the one I mentioned previously), and there was cake and more caffeine than I usually have, and a 5:20 am start, so I'm buzzing a little bit tonight.