Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Other Kind Of "-holic" Is More Fun

For perhaps a month or two each year, I go from being a pointless drain on my company's financial resources to the kind of person I usually make fun of after meeting some friends at a pub well before any of us should even be leaving the office -- a workaholic.

This is that moment in 2008. I've managed to coast through most of the year based on the fact that I was promoted last December (so who do I really need to impress for another year or two?) and that I have already taken over 6 weeks of vacation, which tended to be a good excuse to not accept any significant piece of work since I'd be laying on a beach somewhere on the other side of the world before it was finished anyway.

However it's come up to mid-year review time, and I've found myself with an embarrassingly low productivity rating that would reflect someone who was hired to fill some sort of special needs government quota for companies of a certain size. As luck would have it, in the weeks before offical reviews started, I landed two pretty impressive deals -- one through a personal connection and another one because I was just in the right place at the right time, and both have kicked off in the last few days. As a result, I will be traveling to Brisbane for work tomorrow, and Perth for 2 weeks after that. It also means that I've been working 12 hours days and a few hours on the weekends, and that shows no sign of stopping until around February.

I don't handle stress very well. I get even more self-absorbed, I actually socialize a lot less, I get cranky more often than usual. I also don't sleep well because I wake up at 4 in the morning thinking about all the things I need to do when I get to work, and often have to email myself reminders so that I can stop obsessing about them and go back to sleep. But in the end, I generally do really good work for the few weeks that I actually put any effort into it, and it pays off when it comes time to evaluate my performance.

A lot of people are pretty appalled by this approach. Apart from a clear lack of a general work ethic, I will admit that it's pretty sad to know that I am more than capable of being a truly productive member of my team all the time, but just can't be bothered unless there's something in it for me. In my defense though, by setting the bar so low, just a few weeks of actual work really impresses people and probably gets more attention than the people who are working hard all the time. Cynical, but true.

Also, consider this post an excuse for any lack of attention to the blog over the next couple of weeks, while I pretend I have any idea what I'm talking about on a daily basis. Which I suppose isn't that different from the usual.

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