August 16, 2008

Back in the Swing

July and even the first week of August were relatively slow at work, for me. I got into the habit of working very little on the weekends and blowing off the work I brought home at night, because, hey, it was very likely that I could finish it the next day -- all my clients seemed sleepy and well-behaved.

I kept this attitude about work all the way through last weekend, when I brought a bunch of work home but didn't do any of it. Unfortunately, work had actually picked back up to a normal pace and I was not responding appropriately.

This week, I was scrambling. I worked 'til 11 PM on Monday, 10 PM on Tuesday, and Wednesday, after an appointment with our realtor, phone calls to family & friends, and dinner to discuss our housing options, I still had a minor edits to one of my contracts. Ordinarily, I would have finished those edits before the phone calls, but I just hadn't gotten back into the groove...

Thursday afternoon I skipped lunch with my group to finish some work and I missed an internal deadline by an hour. Friday, I got the missed-deadline contract back from my supervising partner and I was embarrassed. I had missed several changes. I had made errors that showed I was rushed. It did not look like my work.

Thankfully, I work for wonderful partners (seriously), and this one took the blame for my shoddy work upon himself saying that we should have a more open dialog about my workload so that we could make determinations about whether the deadlines should slip or I should turn in rushed work.

This is a solid management technique. I already had realized I wasn't managing my workflow as well as I had in the past and needed to get in gear and I felt badly. I apologized when I saw his mark-up to my draft, but when my partner accepted the blame for what I knew to be my mistake, it made me even more motivated not to make it in the future.

And this, my friends, would explain the lack of blog posts this week, and how I found myself in a relatively empty office at 7 PM on a Friday, and why I'm up, at my computer, and ready to crank out some work this morning. I'm back in the groove -- my priority lists are updated. I actually know what needs to be done and I'm not fooling myself into thinking I can squeeze it in later. I need to work this weekend. That's part of the gig I signed up for.

When I explained to one of my other partners what had happened with the missed-deadline-contract, he laughed and said,

Don't worry, you just got out of shape. This job is much like sports in that way, when you've been training and you're in good shape, it's much easier to get it done right. But when you take some time off or things get slow, it takes a while to get back into the swing of things.

And on that note, I am happy to announce that I'm also getting back into the swing of running after the marathon. Last night E2 and I joined a small group of local runners for a full-moon frolic. It was beautiful, with hills and sand running by the crashing surf for an even paced 6 miles that made me feel like I was fully recovered.

No comments: