Had one of those calls from a senior bod last night selling a new project to me and seeking my agreement to come on board. Probably wasn’t optional, but it is nice to be treated as though it is.
Tremendous enthusiasm (and strong language – to the amusement of my wife, who listened quietly from the passenger seat). There were also dire warnings, supposedly advised to all, on how important it was that I do not mess up.
Interestingly, good old consultancy style focusing on relationships and delivery were put forward as the most important things. This even extended to guidance on behaviours and what colour suit to wear (I kid you not).
I have only had a couple of weeks since rolling off a project based near Heathrow and now find myself located 30 mins or so away from Bristol. About 40 miles closer to home and probably in hotels nearer to more interesting civilisation than is to be found near airports but nevertheless, still a hotel stay most of the time.
Those two weeks proved to be busy tidying stuff up from the last project, answering queries from those I left behind and catching up on a lot of reading that I had to check through just in case (flagged the odd thing up). It also gave me a chance to do some of the other internal business stuff that I had not had chance to do over the preceding 15 months because I had worked so hard on the project.
It seems to be a disease of most of the services firms that they promote a work/life balance but actually do not really support you in having one. Most people, especially the more senior people, are expected to work long hours and just get things done, for the project they are on, also do additional self-development and finally contribute to the greater good overall (generating additional capital, knowledge sharing, running training, etc.). Many of the younger people can choose to have no life and spend pretty much all of their time living and breathing the company air. I am now a little older and do not seem to be getting the rewards for heart and soul efforts. I am not entirely convinced that my bosses get a better deal – on the last project they seemed to put even more effort in and worked many many weekends and just got more hassle and pain.
Working away from home so much means I miss seeing my kids growing up. At least, unlike so many people (such as those in the forces), I do get to spend most weekends at home. I also make a lot of effort to stay in touch during the week.
What would be the alternatives though? I like what I do and would quickly get bored of most other types of work. We also have a good life style (hurting like most people enduring the credit crunch).
I see no green grass, but I am excited by this new project.