Tuesday: You want WHAT, by WHEN?
Tuesday was panning out quite nicely. I spent nearly all of the day herding and corralling my team to make sure that their end of week deliverable would be completed and all seemed fine with the world. There was still no sign of the detailed client requirements so we were still fannying around with an exercise to estimate some costs based on the little we know and the huge amount we have guessed.
It was about half past five and my Instant Messenger "pinged". I'll repeat that, "it was about half past five". That's it HALF PAST FIVE, Five Thirty .... The time when everyone I work with is finishing for the day, stepping away from their laptops and preparing to spend time with their families...
... Where was I, yes, the Instant Messenger pinged. It was my Idiot Manager's Lackey who asked me if I could pull a complete technical solution together in 24 hours and have it approved and ready for pricing by first thing Thursday morning. I can tell you that I responded with plenty of smiley faces and the "rolling on the floor laughing" one too as I had arranged a full day workshop on my current project and didn't have the bandwidth for this. I seriously though that The Lackey was taking the piss*
A quick phone call confirmed my suspicions this was no joke and he was quite serious. I was required to go from a state of zero knowledge to having a reasonable understanding of a project brief, gather a small team and get plenty of ticks in boxes by close of business tomorrow. Now I will admit that the project was simple in scope and the most significant piece of work had already been developed** but this was still one hell of a task and apparently it was felt that "I was the man to do it".
I'll just reiterate that it was half past five when I was passed this poison chalice which means that I had absolutely no chance of making any useful contacts that evening so instead spent a fun couple of hours clearing say all the stuff that I should have been doing tomorrow and writing some blunt emails to obtain the key individuals I would need to pull this thing together.
---* although I should have remembered that he is not one well known for a sense of humour.
** Try riding a bike with one wheel and no saddle to realise that sometimes you have to have the whole package
Wednesday: Put to the test
There is not much more I can say about Wednesday. It was the expected cycle of calls and conversations, persuasion and threats and smoke and mirrors. The great thing about Wednesday is that Golfy was recruited to, as he puts it so splendidly, "make up the numbers".
It was really refreshing to work together again, albeit briefly, as we get the job done but have a riot of a time in the process. The chap I have working on my main project is a really nice guy and very competent but he just doesn't have the same pizzaz as Golfy so it is most definitely not Pooh & Tigger on the road again.
Anyway I digressed, back to Mission Impossible, five o'clock arrived and it was time for the final review call. I took the Main Man through the presentation and Tigger gave him the numbers. We finished and paused ...
... The Man from Del Monte' he say "Yes".
So I proved that it could be done and have now totally shot myself in the arse as the next time they need something done in no time at all it will be Muggins here who they ask. With the benefit of hindsight fucking it up and failing might have been a better plan.
As the working day came to a close I had little chance to bathe in the glory as a mail in my in-box indicated that the detailed project scope information had finally arrived for my main project and the timescales for response looked grim, VERY GRIM.
Wednesday Evening saw us wander down to the local pub to take part in The Burns Night Supper. I'm most definitely not a Scot and was pretty tired after the working day but I do love haggis and it is a community activity that, for some strange reason, I like to take part in. It was a pleasant supper and we had out usual table with VI and his long suffering wife, Jules, TP, 30% and I. We were all pretty tired and the little hand hadn't reached ten before we were home and thinking about bed.
Thursday: All over the place
To be honest yesterday's diversion totally threw me and I had real problems trying to get focussed on the principal project. There were occasional follow-on calls from the diversion and for most of the day I just flapped, totally daunted by the huge amount of information I was expected to absorb, simplify and disseminate to my team and the limited time we would have to pull this gargantuan beast together.
By the evening I had managed to re-gain my focus and had a first draft of a plan. Tomorrow would be spent getting the Juggernaut moving in the right direction.
Friday: Bad Parenting
After a week of Journal entries totally focussed on work this might seem like a strange change of tack but I will explain, albeit cryptically because you never know who might read this rubbish. Over the past few days 30% and I have been placed in a couple of situations where we have encountered some truly vile children. These are not children who come from underprivileged backgrounds or anything like that. These are children who just seem to have been brought up without guidance on what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. In one case it is because the parent doesn't have a clue and in the other it seems that it is because the parents don't give a damn.
In both cases it means that 30% and I have had exposure to these horrible children and are rapidly coming to the conclusion that bad parenting is probably a form of child abuse. I could go on but it is probably best that I do not. All I will say is that, after this morning's session with TP's head master he seems very keen to have a chat with the local Community Support Officer.
Back at work I started to get my Juggernaut moving and had surprisingly little resistance. I had the usual notes about planned absences but I expected these and was already escalating to get cover during the half term week when every man and his dog is on holiday. My old friend Michel in Luxembourg was his usual co-operative self and sent me an e-mail in broken English whining that there was no way he could do what needed to be done in the time allotted. Some things never change! I responded, carbon copying The Great and The Good, encouraging him to be positive and use his experience and skills to find a way forward blah, blah, blah. Basically there is no way I am putting up with that communist little shit and if he can't do the fucking job his Boss better find someone who can ... FAST.
All in all it has been a pretty good week, Thursday was a bit wobbly but I am back on track. I just have a terrible amount of reading to do this weekend.
Friday evening saw another change of tack as I put on my Butchers apron and spent some time packing a half pig that I had collected from Kathy H-R. I must admit I surprised myself with the boned, rolled shoulder that I created and I also have cheeks and a boned piece of belly for guanciale and pancetta.
Now where is my jar of cure?