How to tackle extremely tight deadlines and other tales of delusion.

It’s friday late in the afternoon and you’ve just survived another hectic week at work. You’re looking at the digital clock at the corner of your monitor and it’s been another timeless day in the corporate rat race. Ah… the satisfaction of working overtime. No one else to think about but you and your job. Nevertheless, all good things come to an end. You’ve worked till you dropped yet again and it’s time to party!

“Time to go,” you ponder. So you’ve no family to go to, no significant other to cook for. But the world is your oyster this weekend. And wine is your best friend (in a pink, chic, cosmopolitan kind of way).

You start closing one by one you the windows on your computer saving the email window for last. An inexplicable and masochistic-to-its-roots desire, urges you to press send/receive one last time before you wave your work email goodbye.

Suddenly, the screen flashes red and you read on in disbelief the latest email marked as ‘high importance’ from that big-ass client of yours whom you’re pampering every second of every day for those damned three figured invoices.

“Dear XYZ,

We’ve got a major transaction closing in less than two hours, today. We need you to review the attached ten agreements and offer us your comments. Needless to say this request is very urgent.”

“Are they for real?”
You re-read the email for 30 seconds or so.
Then you feel your blood boiling. It only takes a minute or two to feel your veins pumping fearless.

You blame your luck, you curse it even, but it doesn’t change much. The fact of the matter is that you have to wave your plans for drinks after work, goodbye. A bitter goodbye.

Your stress levels rise, the blood-boiling has now turned into a throbbing headache and as you flick through the pages of the agreements you need to review, you wonder how on earth they expect you to offer them a sound advice on a zillion agreements in less than two hours. The agreements are only (!) ten but they might as well have been a million.

And then you stop.

…only on the outside. Because on the inside your mind is working overtime to process all these and more. Someone has to win the day. And it has to be you. There’s no other way. So, you consider your options:

(a) Play the fool, leave the office and reply to the email a couple of hours later that you shall need to review the agreements and revert on Monday; or
(b) Ignore the email altogether;
(c) Write back a ‘lawyery’ reply cursing them softly for their unprofessional way of work adding a few adjectives along the lines of ‘you bastards who do you think you are expecting world creation in under two hours?’;
(d) Take a deep breath. Reconcile with the fact that you’ll need to stay even longer at work. Watch the birds fly in stupor outside the window for a while. Dream of that vacation in the Carribean. Imagine swimming with dolphins even though you’re really a bit apprehensive of swimming alongside sizaeable mammals. Then settle down at your desk. Accept the challenge and rise above it.

For me options (a) and (b) don’t really exist. Sadly, I am too responsible a person for that. It doesn’t always work in my favour, I know that. Sometimes even I take advantage of me. I admit that option (c) has swivelled in my head a million times in similar situations. Once I even began to write a rather decorative reply. OK so the sender box was empty. It felt good writing it all the same.

I tend to go for option (d). Don’t always think of the dolphins or fish. Sometimes it’s birds, it’s the Alps and skiing or it’s the countless bottles of wine that will follow -with my friends.

It’s worked for me fine so far. But some times I wonder. Is it worth it? All the hassle, the sacrifice?

I resolve that it’s worth it. But I am no stranger to other tales of delusion, either.

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One thought on “How to tackle extremely tight deadlines and other tales of delusion.

  1. So does this mean you’re a Type A person who’s a Type D?

    Hehe. I’m the same way.

    I think it’s the work ethic combined with wanting to have a clean slate in order to enjoy myself. Too many people are counting on me and I can’t just not deliver. That affects my reputation for future business, which affects my ability to have future fun.

    Wine does help, though.

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