Tuesday, 10 November 2015

South Africa: Again?

All going south
Just this morning after the regular telephone conference which is never without event and surprise, I sprang out of my seat and saunter across the aisle to announce to my colleagues the newest development.
Our project had reached an impasse and with all the problems we were having, the business was ready to can the whole deal, 22 months of my work about to go up the swanny.
To say I foresaw these long ago will be to boast, but email after email presents an audit trail of insight and understanding garnered over almost 30 years in the field, but generally Project Managers know best until fiction meet reality in a collision that will make the Big Bang a simple puff of smoke.
It was forgettable enough
We had ventured that I will be needed in South Africa to confirm my obsolescence to the project by my handing over the engineering environment to the local support teams. I am already used to being important at the start of a project and then being expendable after I have created a working solution.
Any freelance consultant will be used to this kind of cycle and I have been doing this for 20 years. Whilst they were counting the pennies about whether I was needed or not in South Africa, I had already concluded that nothing will come of it, if ever, and not on this side of Christmas.
A similar desire to have me visit was first mooted in October last year, it took them until May to finally get it sorted, I was not going to put my life on the hold for this, I have not had an annual holiday since September last year.
Wham! What happened?
Then hardly two hours after the telephone conference, I received an email asking me to visit and attend brainstorming sessions in South Africa next week. My line manager, I have many, in fact, there are many lines of management in my purview, I might well be snorting lines of something else to keep informed of who is managing me now.
Yes, my line manager wanted me to be in South Africa on Monday, it could be done and since I do not have that kind of outlay, I could have had someone else fork out a king’s ransom on a golden landau to Johannesburg, but I am a very reasonable man.
I have seen a better deal for the midweek and I have learnt better of getting hotels too and I have forwarded the information to another line manager who holds the purse strings. I will be out to South Africa until the middle of December.
The feats are beats
There is no scope for me to hate my job, the uncertainties, the surprises, the unpredictability and the madhouse order in the perfect chaos of achieving the impossible with the Project Management tools of hope in the midst of hopeless recklessness.
This is where faith is leaping over gullies filled with the imponderables and the incredulity of starved crocodiles half sated at the sight of you attempting the daring-do of death wish – I am overwhelmed with the excitement of constant change and I guess in the scheme of things, it is fun too.
I hope I like South Africa better than the first time.

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