Getting mad

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Jun 04, 2006

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Friday, February 24, 2006

I nearly lost it, and the red mist was descending in swathes. Fortunately, I was 500 miles away from the object of my ire at the time. As I currently work away from home for my London-based employer, living in a Glasgow hotel 4 nights a week, I have an agreement where I'm allowed to work flexible hours in the office in order to be able to accommodate various personal commitments at home in England. This is not exactly revolutionary stuff in the days of remote working, but it is the nature of this job that I have to access the client network from the office in Glasgow. As long as people know what I'm doing and the job gets done what's the big deal.

Today, I was confirming 2 weeks ahead that my planned hours were ok so that I could make arrangements to see people, and was told, "no you're not allowed to do that." "You're to be here available to meet our objectives and deliverables." I didn't swear at this point, nor indeed at any point, but when I pointed out that living in a hotel for 5 months messes up your personal life and that a bit of flexibility was essential, I was told, "that's not my problem, you're on assignment and to do as we need you to." Hearing that, I nearly crushed the telephone in my grip, turned white with anger and politely pointed out through trembling lip that they might want to think very carefully about things because I had a massive problem with that.

The crux of it is that the people running the project don't really know what's going on a week ahead so they want to retain as much control over their resources. That, I can understand to some extent, although whether it's good business practice to be operating in this fashion is another question. What I can't swallow is the sub-text that I have to give up the right to plan my personal life because somebody might need me in the office on any given Monday or Friday, but that I'm not allowed to change my life at short notice either.

Sometimes you work long hours bust a gut at work because it's interesting and professionally and personally beneficial. At other times, you tick over in a low key environment or put priorities outside work much further ahead. It's a balance, everyone is trying to find throughout their lives. In this situation with a dead end assignment, a long way from home, I think I'm entitled to worry about my personal priorities a little more than my local colleagues who can call up friend or family for lunch any day of the week. After all, if there's work to do, I can do it until 10pm a couple of nights a week.

I don't know if I'm getting more tired, confrontational, depressed, or if mine is the path of the righteous, but thinking about this sets my pulse rising, temples throbbing and adrenalin rushing. It feels like the outset of full on war. Except, it's just a job, right, and not worth it, it's only 7.5 hours a day? Yes, but not when you're away from home it isn't! It's the major part of your life. I'm sure that time will ease things, but I'm not sure I want it to - it will make things more exciting if I have some heated and animated conversation to look forward to next week! After all, I shouldn't have to tolerate someone who doesn't care that his project is screwing around with my life should I?
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