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Friday, 27 September 2013

Is it ". . . and relax" time already?

One blog a week says it all.

Very busy at work.  A lot of it is thrashing, due to my lack of local knowledge, but in the panic there has been the odd bit of productive work.

I even had a min melt-down the other night.  However a quick beer put that right*. 

My progress and integration is about where it should be, but I think I am just a bit impatient with it all.  Having come from a very similar role on another account, with frighteningly similar issues and challenges, I feel like I should be doing more and better than I am, but that is just foolish talk.  I need to just keep on doing what I am doing, and slowly the bits will fall in to place.

The one part of the role on which I can really contribute is the process improvement stuff.  The problem I have is that I just am not getting any time to spend on it, since all my time is spent (ineffectively) trying to do the administrative/management piece of my role, at which, as I have already said, I am not yet totally proficient.

Oh well, it is Friday, the weekend beckons, and we have dinner at A&E Saturday night and lunch at my parents and my sister's family on Sunday, which will be nice.

Have a great weekend, speak next week.

* Some of the less salubrious papers have hinted that it may have been a ruse to beat the mid-week beer ban.

Friday, 20 September 2013

And . . . relax

Quick post today.  Was in the office 3 days this week, some kind of record for me, a lazy week for most others.  Summary of the week:

  • everything is very much the same
  • everything is completely different
  • we are swamped with requests, and I am in the middle trying to sort them out, but with staff out it is tricky, and with no local knowledge, I can be dangerous
  • I am embarking on a whole lot of process improvement, and that really is deja vu all over again.  I plan to, as much as possible, rehash all the good stuff I did on my last account.  At the moment, one meeting in, we have a very disgruntled customer, and I appear to be something resembling a sort-of rough version of an expert.  This position is most exciting, and I will be milking it for as long as it lasts, which is probably until the third meeting.
  • Tales of dis-function on my new account seem to be slightly off the mark.  There is one individual who could be problematic, and I am not sure I have all the strategies required yet to handle them, however so far so good, and too much anticipating what might happen coz of what other people have said can often stop a chap from cracking on with what he is doing in the best way he knows how.  What I mean by that, coz it does not make sense,  is I prefer to take people as I find them, and so far I am not finding this particular character at all.
  • I am very tired, have stuff on my mind the moment I wake up, whether at 2am or 5am, and so I am very glad it is the weekend.
We are over at David and Samantha's on Saturday night, which will be nice, and I think my mum's for a family get together Sunday, which are always "interesting".

Have a great weekend, speak next week.

P.S. Forgot to mention that I had a lovely quick chat with Golfy.  It is always good to catch up with the old bu$$er and hear about all his fancy exploits.  He even advised me to go iOS7 without further ado, and being an obedient chap, I am now doing so.

Monday, 16 September 2013

80% of my time

We had a great weekend in Brighton with A&E, marred only by the girls unaccountably gaining a two thousand point lead in Canasta.  We blamed the unusual weather patterns and the prevalence of pairs of men with Scottie dogs, with both men being called mummy.

We should have had a fair amount of rain, but as is the norm with our trips, none of it materialised, so we were not even unduly wet.  Add in the new TV and an aerial connector on the power post and we could even catch a bit of Come Dine With Me for an hour in the afternoon.  Now, I need to explain this.  As campers turned 'vanners, we vowed not to introduce twenty-first century technology* to our weekends away, and I know that, were they dead**, that Brad and Angelina would be turning in their graves, but the truth be told, adding a tiny weeny little bit of TV to the mix has only enhanced our experience, with no loss of the really important stuff like losing the Maggots for hours, eating egg baps followed by tea and cake and winning, or in this instance losing, at Canasta.

On the work front, I am now 80% on my new account, and staring to get embedded in all the meetings.  It will take some time until I have sufficient local knowledge to be useful, but that will come in time, and my boss is reaching out to various bits of the account team to provide some on-the-spot training for me in various aspects including the contract and architectural standards.  Exciting stuff, I know, and I can almost feel my life force leaving me as we speak.  Joking apart, this is critical stuff for me to get sufficient appreciation to be able to lead the team.  I can do all the soft leadership stuff I think, it is just the technical/contractual leadership that will take a bit of time to master.  Luckily, I will be getting a handover from an expert, and the only issue will be getting enough of his time to do so quickly.

Have a good week, speak later.

* OK, so maybe most of it is twentieth century
** Both are, you will be pleased to hear, in rude health, so this imagery is used purely for effect, so no offence meant B&E

Friday, 13 September 2013

And . . . relax

We are away this weekend to Brighton in the 'van with A&E.  It is gonna be a wet one, but as hardy winter-vanners, a bit of precipitation does not phase us.  Indeed, with the promise of an A home-made curry tonight, and an LO soup and cheese meal for Saturday night, plus a day in Brighton shopping, and eating at the American Diner, it promises to be a great weekend.  And we have waterproofs.

This week I spent 20% on my new account.  I have been successful overall, though I am very conscious  how hard it can be to "break through" on a new account.  It would be fair to say that I have made a good start having had a call with the architect lead (and immediately addressing a problem) and also the process improvement lead (lots of previous experience can be brought to this).  Next week the plan is to be 80% on the new account, and the week after 100%.

That means that in the space of two weeks I will have managed to create and execute an exit plan.  Things are made easier because I already have a deputy, so handing over to him has been a doddle.  He aspires to do the role, so it is rather pleasing that my move has enabled him to realise his aspiration.

Having said that, it is a rather weird experience where I wrote an aggressive exit plan, sent it out for review, and in the absence of anyone saying I cannot do it that quickly, I have executed as per the plan.  Part of me is waiting for someone to notice the plan and say "he can't leave that quickly", however to consider that might well be to have delusions of grandeur.  I believe I have quoted this before, but think it is worth quoting again, that your old company will miss you like a bucket of water will miss a hand; there may be a few ripples, but within seconds it is as if the hand had never been there.  I really do believe this, which helps me a) be less big headed (though I don't actually think I am particularly that way inclined) and b) feel less bad about moving, both for me and for my colleagues.

So, that is all for this week.  Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Slight Change on the Western Front

My search for the "next thing" continues apace, with a couple of possible irons in the fire, all three of which could easily come to nothing.  In fact, as time goes by, they seem less and less likely, but then these things can sometimes surprise you, so let's wait and see.

I am about to make a modest change by moving from one account to another, but doing the same role.  The new account seems to need someone who sounds a lot like me.  The previous incumbent is a friendly colleague, if not quite a friend, whose nose may well be put out of joint by my replacing him, although he says he only really wanted the role for 6 months and that may or may not be true, however I do think the thing he is moving to is right up his street.  I am conscious that he may have just the tiniest bit of desire to see me fail, by way of validating that "it was not him, it was them" and at the same time he is saying he will stick around and is happy to help induct me, so being a slightly naive and trusting chap, it is the latter option for me. 

It is very true that he has vast experience of the account, and I have none, so there will be some opportunity for me to un-shine (or whatever the opposite of shine is), however I am also hoping this weakness could be a strength, because I will not then be sucked in to the activities taking all his time, and stopping him, from his (and therefore mine now) manager's perspective, from doing the other stuff that really needs doing.  I expect I will naturally have more time for this other stuff, and so just hope a fresh pair of eyes, a new view on things, and an inability to go weed-diving will be the difference for me.

Time will tell, and I shall undoubtedly be reporting more as time goes by.

Monday, 9 September 2013

And . . . relax

Definitely too much relaxing going on, as another Friday post is done on Monday.

We had a lovely weekend.  Strictly Come Dancing returned to our screens, albeit for a one-off red-carpet piece of nonsense, to introduce the faces of 2013 before going away for 3 weeks to learn their first dance.  Nevertheless, that filled the time until X Factor which filled the time until Maggot bedtime, before we watched the final part of Top of the Lake.  Technically, I still need to see it because, hard to believe, it seems I dozed off somewhere in the first third, so have not seen the ending.  The one line comment from LO supports the growing feeling we had been getting that it started strong, but lost its way and meandered without focus to a sort of conclusion.  For example, I love the lead woman (previously seen in Mad Men), who arrived in a male-orientated environment, got a bit trodden on before showing some real strength.  The trouble is, as the plot got lost, so did her resolve, and it seemed to change from strong to weak at will in a most displeasing way.

On Sunday, we had David and Samantha for Sunday roast and a lot of chat.  And quite a lot of drink actually, except David who was driving.  I for one had a little bit of a head by the evening.  We had a great time catching up, and with a further weekend get-together planned for two weeks hence, and some planning for holidays and visits to Brad and Angelina, the social diary is filling up fast.

In the evening, we tried to watch Vera, which is a pleasant enough "cops and murderers" show, but on for two hours so well past both mine and LO's bedtime.  That is another one for which we need to watch the ending.

Have a good week.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A bit of shameless plagarism, but I did just have to re-publish a great Dilbert from Golfy's blog.

When people ask me what I do, I think I now have the answer.

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Weekend

It was lovely to bump in to Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen in the supermarket on Sunday.  Introductions were made using real names, all very civil, but when I happened to mention "of course, this is Gorse Fox" at which point Maggot 1 said "Ah, Gorse Fox" in a way you might say "what, the David Beckham" which was most amusing.  I have to report that, despite all the negative press in the GF blog that Silver Vixen seemed perfectly normal to us; no trace of broom or other witch-related paraphernalia.

I was introduced back as "one of the guys in the band" which did bring back a few fond memories.  I then took the opportunity to check the validity of a story about the singer, which was indeed true.  He is a man of some considerable intellect, and I guess also some level of photographic memory (although, as will become clear, that is not entirely apt for this story), because he played chess in the Cardinal's Hat, our local whilst in Worcester, against two competent players and beat them both.  And he was blind-folded.  More than that, the day after he wrote to each thanking them for the game, listing the moves they had played and pointing out the bad moves they had made.  And he wasn't a half-bad singer either.

The rest of the weekend was really just getting stuff straightened out from the holiday.  Plenty of chores, including dirty trainers, rubbish in the garden, plus some work on the 'van to fix a bunch of broken bits (which are now all in good working order) and to clean it inside and out.  We nearly didn't do it, but it is always best to push on through and get them done, coz once done they are off the list.

This week will really be about stability and control, both of which I need to get back on to an even keel.  The post-holiday blues need a jolly good kicking, and focused work is what is needed I think.