So, despite certain hassles from management, I find myself for the first time since I started this job with no reports stuck on my desk.
It’s been a long old haul. I inherited two awful draft reports from my predecessor when I took over in May 2002: one on corruption in Macedonia, which I eventually got out that August, and one on pan-Albanian nationalism, which finally got out in February this year. By then I had amassed another two difficult ones, on Azerbaijan and on Moldova; Azerbaijan was published last month, and Moldova I finally pushed onto the next stage yesterday.
My biggest problem with this job is that I feel I’m not very good at – and I know I’m not very enthusiastic about – one of my main responsibilities: editing other people’s 30-50 page reports. I’ve come to realise that my preferred length for my own writing is between that of my better blog entries, say 700 words, and the 8,000 words that I can do for a major article. The more 2,000 word pieces I can do, the happier I am. And what I really enjoy is the pieces for my websites, on sf and elections.
If I were in a self-flagellating mood, I would worry about the fact that I don’t actually have any reports on my desk right now – the Bosnia one has been delayed to (I suspect) past the point where we can make a real contribution; the next Kosovo one hasn’t been started; I have a hand-waving guarantee about something on Georgia by the end of this month, and something on Armenia at the end of next; and the Macedonia one – first draft – is due in only next week.
But in fact I’m just relieved. I’m also somewhat relieved by the fact that apparently I have very few meetings scheduled for my trip to Moscow tomorrow and Friday. It will give me a chance to draw breath, catch up, etc.
But my plane takes off in two hours, and I must go and pack.