Thursday, 10 July 2008

Cordially invited, my regrets

My weekends are mine

As we deliberated on getting a project through its critical stages to full deployment, a director suggested we would have to work 24 hours and weekends if necessary to meet our milestones.

I quickly interjected, that he could not demand my weekends at will, rather, he owed everyone the courtesy of ascertaining we were free for the weekend rather than assuming our lives were wedded to the job for the satisfaction of unrealistic project goals borne from bad project management.

Many faces went red, the daring challenge coming from a contractor-consultant left a few quivering as he answered back that I was employed for my time.

My time, is set for a week in hours, if you want more, you apply for more and if I have nothing planned, you will have that time. However, if I have something planned for my weekend and you think you can request my presence for a weekend on Thursday afternoon, well, my plans would not shift.

Some people have seen my attitude as uncooperative, with the shoe on the other foot, I see that attitude as a lack of consideration and blatantly disrespectful – anyway, the message was understood and courtesies came into the request for the presence of anyone in the team after then.

To put it another way, no boss is too big to be humane, considerate and courteous, no job pays enough to forfeit the commune that ensures your well-being and quality time with those that matter - if you are falling short of these issues, you desperately need a realignment of priorities, Pretty Damn Quick!

Such lessons do need to be taught to many more people who plan meetings without proper consideration for those being invited to their meetings.

The majesty of excellency

Only this afternoon (Thursday), my mailbox was slightly burdened with a cordial invitation for a meeting taking place on Saturday afternoon, with the gentle request to be punctual. The cheek! I would always be punctual if offered the opportunity of early communication. I don't do African time.

Obviously, I had to give the invitation a second look after being engaged in conversation with a very interested party, but that is all it got, a second look and nothing more.

Before, I close the matter, I would say in Europe we have clear agendas and planning which requires good publicity, good communication and managed feedback – all of which were lacking in this cordial invite.

If you want guests at a weekday evening meeting, consider giving at least a week’s notice, if you want to take a weekend evening, probably two or three weeks minimum allows for people to keep their agenda free.

That is not to say some people would not attend, especially if they are in the privileged presence of excellency which is not far off from majesty, but being a respecter of persons (tongue in cheek), I hope the message is crystal clear to those concerned.

My sincere regrets, Ma'am, but thanks for thinking about it, maybe some other time.

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