the thrill of having your back against a wall

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Dreams of a new career, particularly one that pays well, could fill your mind today – perhaps because of too many stresses in your current one. ~ the capricorn horoscope for today

i went to work this morning fully planning to not come home tonight.

panic ran through our project team yesterday. it was the kind of rush that made me understand how people come to fancy themselves project managers. it made me finally get it. the project i’ve been leading is designed to replace the current scheduling and payroll systems for the location where i work. the reaches of the effort are far and wide, affecting every one of the 600-ish employees on site. at this point we are eighteen months in and about six weeks out. this is it, the bigtime.

why the drama? well, news traveled fast that the current systems that we use had crashed. that wouldn’t be such a big deal if the thing wasn’t already decades old or completely unsupported by anyone anymore. we weren’t promised that it would ever be up and running again. for the past few years, it’s been getting by with the i.t. equivalent of bubble gum and paperclips holding it together. only one person can tame this beast and she lives on the other side of the country and is ready to retire as soon as it does. the only solution to a complete failure would have been to move our already jam-packed schedule up by a month.

i’ll be blunt. when it comes to work, there are few things that are as important to people as their pay and their schedule so we are treading on sensitive terrain. accuracy is profoundly important. rushing is not something we were too keen to move into.

i came home late last night with the knowledge that the decision would be made and we’d officially move to plan b without news of a solution at noon eastern time this morning. kevin was pretty pumped when i told him about it. he turned into the quintessential coach right then and there, coaxing me to challenge myself to become clutch, as he put it. the thrill had spread through me to him.

the first three hours of the workday, i conducted myself as though the rush implementation was fact; i’d thoroughly accepted it as my reality. when the email arrived, the subject line betrayed the surprise. the antique had somehow been righted and all was back to normal. while the majority of the team breathed a sigh of relief, i have to admit that my heart sank. i reached out to the only person i knew would understand. in reply to my text asking “are you disappointed?” my project manager replied, “you could say that. yes.”

even though we would very realistically have been working unfathomable hours for days on end, moving at a pace that we couldn’t even contemplate outside of the deadline, it still would have been an incredible challenge had we needed to face it. what can i say? i enjoy hard work, but i never knew how much of a thrill i’d feel from a true do or die situation. it really is a shame that it didn’t pan out.

maybe there will be more projects in my future after all…

pumpkin and chocolate chip cupcakes
with cinnamon icing

home long before i ever thought i would be, i spent my free evening contemplating how we’d come together as a team and how great we’d performed under pressure. for my team…cupcakes!

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One response »

  1. It’s refreshing to hear someone from a project team say they didn’t want to rush into something and took careful thought of the impact that would have on the recipients of the output. Wow. Must be what it’s like to work for a thoughtful company. Ha. Glad it turned out well in the 11th hour, but I know what you mean about the disappointment. All geared up and nowhere to go.

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