Every year in January and July, I have to deal with the part of my job that I hate the most - liaising with my contacts in each of the 17 offices around the country to work out people's training needs for the next six months and then booking people onto courses.
It's a thankless task, and I've discovered that it's impossible to please everybody - and even more impossible to persuade more than half of the people I have to deal with to meet the deadline they're given.
But I think what I hate the most at the moment is that most of the people I'm dealing with are in their twenties or early thirties. They've been out of university a few years and have gained professional qualifications, many of them picking up spouses along the way. And in my experience, there are way more women than men in the lower echelons of my profession.
What all this means is that every time I get in touch with my group of contacts, at least one of them either has just disappeared on maternity leave or is just about to. And there are usually several people who need to be taken off the waiting lists for courses because they're disappearing off on maternity leave too.
And when I have to do the course bookings on the day AF shows up, every new person I have to congratulate on her impending maternity leave makes me wonder all the more why it's never my turn.
Perhaps I'll hand in my notice today and see if I can go and get a job on an oil rig or in a seminary or something...