So how's the first week back at work going? I'll admit I have found it REALLY tough, I could have done with returning for a partial week, I really wanted the week to end yesterday and I'm already feeling the stress bubble up which I am trying my best to quell, but it's not easy to keep it together and stay calm in the face of idiocy, especially as I haven't slept well the past couple of nights. I'm still off the booze though - 7 days now - and even though I REALLY REALLY wanted a glass of wine last night I resisted. Yeah me!!
Thursday, 6 January 2011
This week at work I've spent a good amount of my time getting to grips with all the items on my team's to do list and created a big Gantt chart in MS project so that I can track what's due, what's coming up and the amount of overlap we have on projects. It seemed like a good idea to put it together on Monday, the idea being that I will carry it around in my notebook and then when I'm in meetings with account people and they try to cajole my team into doing more work I can whip it out and show them how busy we are and force them to re-prioritize other projects. Essentially it's a tool to get us out of being overworked since I find that more often than not account teams will come to my team with a new, urgent project with an intensive deadline when the team are already busy with other deliverables. Fine, I understand, but what grates on me is that the account teams who are pushing these urgent projects on us don't seem to realize that if they drop a new urgent project on us then the deadlines for other tasks have to shift. Seems only fair right? Unfortunately the account teams don't seem to grasp the fact that there is a finite amount of resources available, so I receive these quizzical looks as to why we can't deliver the original projects within the previously agreed timeframe.
Um...expect us to work 24 hours a day much?
I especially love it when they say, "oh but don't you have someone else available to continue with XYZ while so-and-so works on the urgent project?" To which I always want to respond "yes meet my imaginary employee John. John spends his day twiddling his thumbs with his feet propped up on his desk while receiving the exact same salary as everyone else, but without being subject to the usual agency rules of having to bill 80%+ of his hours on projects, because John's sole purpose in life is to hang around waiting to work on the projects that you seem incapable of prioritizing."
Of course I don't say anything of the sort I just smile through gritted teeth and inform them that it's not possible to hand the work to someone else, because everyone is busy so then they'll waste half an hour trying to coerce me into delivering everything they want at which point it's an exercise in suppressing my irritation with them for wasting my time with such nonsense, I mean hellooooo, it's called account management, so call me frivolous for making the suggestion, but perhaps you could, MANAGE the account and push back on the client's unrealistic expectations instead of just parroting their requests back to me. Seriously the client may as well just call my team directly for. Grrrrr!!!!
For the record my entire team is over 120% billable, not sufficiently over to allow me to hire another person, unless there's another team that also needs half a person, but enough to make them extremely busy, especially when you factor in all the non-billable stuff that's expected of us like admin, training etc. When you think about the fact that we bill based on a 40hour work week 120% booked means a minimum 48-hours on client stuff then factor in having to do timesheets, attending status meetings, etc and you're looking at 50-60-hours minimum pretty normal for New York I suppose, but not so good for work/life balance.
It didn't take long for 2011 to stress me out did it? Do I sound like a right old moaning Minnie? I suppose I should be thankful for my job, but the expectation of the working week is already getting to me. I need to find someway to keep this in check. For now I am just thankful I've been able to resist managing my stress with wine in so far.