Work, Life and Trying Not to Fall Over

Last fall I started the planning process for a new project. A steering team was assembled and a kick-off meeting was scheduled for the first week of December. The team spent 3 days with consultants and we left with a long list of requirements for the new project. We continued streamlining the project plan and prepared a timeline to complete the project by July first and presented it to management and that’s when the plan changed…drastically. The week before Christmas, we reshuffled the requirements, agreed to new priorities and accepted a project deadline cut by 60 days. Suddenly this project was dubbed a high priority for the company and needed to be done faster than was reasonably possible.

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I spent the first week of January in a conference room with consultants finalizing project requirements and writing specifications.

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My new boss started the second week of January. For the first time in over five years my direct supervisor is in the same city as me.

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My new work schedule started the third week of January. After 10 years of working in a home office, I was suddenly required to start working at the office. Fortunately I was able to transition to part time in the office and continue to work from home several days each week as well but it has still been a huge adjustment.

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Summary: Over a one month time period I ended up managing a highly visible project where the project timeline was cut from six months to four months with no change in scope, I got a new boss and my work schedule changed to involve a one-hour commute each way several days a week.

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The children did not respond well to the change, the boys would immediately start crying if they woke up and saw that I was dressed up for the office. My office hours were long. Over the first few months of the year, the boys were ready for bed when I walked in the door after work. I would tuck them in, change my clothes, and soon be back at my computer to keep working.

After the first month on the new schedule, I decided that I needed to go into the office later in the morning. Instead of leaving the house by 6:30, I changed my morning so that I get the kids up and dressed before I leave the house and I try to leave by 7:00 instead. That seems to have helped the morning routine so that the children see me each morning before school. They still aren’t happy that I am leaving because they know that I won’t be home when they get home from school.

The second half of February and March and April were a blur. I worked a good chunk of every weekend and until midnight many nights during the week. I knew things were bad when I was excited about nights that would include 6 hours of sleep.

The months of long hours paid off and my project launched on time and was considered a success. Juliana knew about my deadline and the next morning she asked if I would be able to work at home all the time again since the big project was over – sadly no – it’s interesting that she combined them into one event.

Since the second week of May I have been scaling back to more reasonable hours. I am no longer staying at the office until 6:30/7:00 and when I come home I am not working in the evenings. Weekends have been returned to family time and eventually I will catch up on all of the neglected home projects.

Since the project ended, we have filled our weekends with fun! The first of many trips to Kennywood for the summer.

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Several Pirates games.

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Breakfast at school for Mother’s Day.

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Planting flowers together.

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Over the next few weeks there will be field trips and Kindergarten graduation and the start of the summer schedule which will mean more adjustments and we will squeeze in as much family fun as possible.

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