Re: Number of Projects

Subject: Re: Number of Projects
From: Marilynne Smith <m -dot- smith182 -at- GENIE -dot- GEIS -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 1995 10:34:00 UTC

>> The schedules are set by upper management without the benefit of input or
>> modification of those who have to complete the projects

Sounds like it's time to do a resume. Management is in panic mode: produce
or die. Do you want to die in the first rank?

When schedules are overwhelming I first try to control myself:
- Can I make better use of my own time?
- Am I providing services that are not required by this task? (I'd like
everything to be totally wonderful, but maybe management just wants it out
on time)
- Can I cut corners somewhere? (Usually I start skimping on my office
trivia, the reports and such.)
- I work a little free overtime to see if I can catch up. If I can catch
up in this manner, the hours I donate are worth it in terms of the anxiety I
lose. However, I avoid allowing free overtime to become the regular work
mode. (Funny thing about paid overtime, managers seem to be able to control
that better <grin>)

If I can't control the schedules and they're still overwhelming me, I go to
my supervisor and say so.
- I point out that I've tried to be more productive and this is as
productive as I can get.
- If they don't offer help (and usually they do) then I ask them to
prioritize my work. Which job wins?
- If my supervisor is overscheduled and feeling helpless about being
able to do something, I work nights on my resume.
- Above all, if you've tried your best to get things done and you still
can't, don't perceive this as a failing of your professional self.
Companies can get themselves overcommitted the same as people.

You can work yourself to death and either meet your deadlines or get sick
with worry and miss them. It's really your choice, but ask yourself if
there are other options.

When management is in a panic or out of control something breaks. Sometimes
the managers quit or leave quietly. Sometimes the company goes down the
tubes. Sometimes it's only temporary and you can struggle through it. Try
to find out what you're dealing with.

So, I've been there. I've both struggled through it and quit. I get smarter
about it each time. Good luck.

m -dot- smith182 -at- genie -dot- geis -dot- com

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