Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Living the Contractor’s Life

Wherever you go in today’s business world, you always are told time management skills are essential to succeed.

Time management – the ability to schedule enough time to complete everyday tasks – is essential in today’s business world.

Unless of course you have the luxury of hiring someone like me. I’m a consultant, a contractor, the person that saves your ass because you don’t have that one essential skill everyone – everyone – needs in today’s business world.

It’s exceptionally ironic when I meet with potential new clients, one of the many questions they ask me concerns my own time management, and just how well do I manage time. I find this ironic – no, I find it exceptionally ironic – because the very reason I am meeting with them in the first place, is because they themselves, or their team as a whole, has very poor time management skills – if any at all.

“Oh, it’s one of those things, you know – where we have a very tight deadline, but don’t have enough people on staff to complete it in time for the deadline,” they fess-up.

“In an ideal world, we’d be on track, but we need your help to get us back on track,” they may say.

“We’re well past our deadlines and need someone like you to put in whatever it takes to get us through this project,” they may say.

Funny, they never admit to their own failures when it comes to managing time, yet they seem to think someone on contract doesn’t mind cleaning up after their mess.

It’s a sound business theory, but not one of personal success. In business, if you can’t meet your deadlines, it isn’t all that uncommon to hire someone on a short-term, temporary basis, to assist. The theory continues, as the person is just a short-term, temporary contractor, it doesn’t matter if we put so much work on him or her, that he or she burns out. But we’d never put a staffer under so much excessive pressure – we’ve invested so much time and money in that staffer, we’d hate to lose that staffer.

So, my exceptional time management skills come under the real-world test, as I am called in to “do whatever it takes” to get the project back on track. “Whatever it takes,” is clever slang for “kill yourself putting in as much overtime as is humanly possible.”

Or so it feels that way – it would be nice to have at least one contract where they weren’t looking for a fixer-upper to repair their messed up project through excessive overtime. It would be awesome to actually be called into a project, which was properly managed, where they needed someone with my skills and expertise to add to the currently correctly managed project, rather than having to come into a situation which shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Remember, time management is an essential skill for today’s business world – actually it is an essential skill in all life situations. People that are late for business meetings are probably just as late for dinner dates, movies and other social gatherings with friends and family.

Still, time management is the one skill seriously lacking in today’s world. Why this is really does boggle my mind – we’re constantly bombarded with the time.

All computers have a system clock, most people these days have cell phones, BlackBerrys, Palm Pilots, pagers, IPods, portable disc players, MP3 players, and then there is the good old fashioned wrist watch – they exist still – don’t they?

Televisions have built-in clocks, as do most VCRs, DVD players, digital cable and satellite boxes, microwaves, ovens, desk and cordless phones, alarm clocks, they even the time all the time on those 24-hour-all news television stations.

Time is something which is always all around us – so why are people constantly running out of time? Why am I always hired to bring a project back on time?

Time management isn’t rocket science – it is actually pretty easy to understand concept. And it is one of the most essential things which would certainly make my life a lot easier.

But hey, I charge a pretty hefty hourly rate – so go ahead – keep screwing up your time management. I’m always on time, and I have a lot of patience. Just remember – the meter is ticking . . .

1 comment:

  1. Hola, Jordan.

    I'm in school right now and completely bored out of my mind. So I read your blog. As a person with no time management skills, I'm guessing I shouldn't go into business, eh? I'll just be a bum.

    Catch you later.