I'd almost forgotten what working late feels like. One of the great advantages of car sharing is that common courtesy generally means that you're all out of the office by 6pm lest you leave anyone hanging around waiting to go home. This never really worked when it was just C. and me, but throw a neutral into the mixer -- a neutral who usually drives us, what's more -- and we're often home and hosed at a time when I used to be thinking about making a cup of tea and really starting to work after pissing about in meetings all day.
This week has been different: C. is about the no-doubt-very-laborious task of attending a company conference in Monte Carlo, and I've been busy preparing the detail of a three year plan with a deadline looming. As a result, I've been driving myself into work in the morning and generally not getting out of the office until 8pm.
It's rubbish - although I have been reminded of how much easier it is to concentrate when everyone else has gone home and the phone stops ringing.
Today's frustration was in trying to fill out a pre-prepared template for about 40 completely separate projects, identifying objectives, issues, risks, benefits, critical success factors and so on in advance of going through an estimating exercise at the start of next week. I'm boring myself just talking about it, but if I don't get it finished by the end of this week, then I'll be working on it over the weekend. Better a few later evenings now than that hideous prospect.
There are a couple of things that annoy me about this: firstly I'm annoyed by the fact that, as I prepare this list of projects in one format, people elsewhere in the business are compiling the same (or at least very similar) lists using different formats. We're all working on the same projects and bidding for the same budgets, so we're probably burning 300% more effort than we need to. It's not very motivating to know that all this hard work may, ultimately, be pointless. Also, as I hardly know any detail about some of these initiatives, I'm inventing an awful lot of what I'm putting in. I don't expect it matters, but shouldn't these multi-million pound initiatives be thought through, at least a little bit? Actually, I've been working long enough to know that's never going to happen.
The other thing that annoys me is much, much worse though: it's the template I'm using. Is there anything more annoying than having to put a whole pile of probably pointless and mostly made-up information into a template that someone has produced using Powerpoint. POWERPOINT. Do they think I haven't got better things to be doing than trying to add text boxes to boxes on a slide and then trying to work out how to format it into something approaching readable on a multi-coloured background?
Coming on 8pm, with a determination to make it to the swimming pool before I had my tea, I just moved the damn thing into Word. Fuck it, eh. Let's live life on the edge. Stick it to The Man.
Then I went swimming. Not going swimming was not an option. Obviously.
Then I had curry soup and doorstop toast for my tea.
That's living alright.