Friday, July 20, 2007

Dead Lines

Well, well, well... It seems that, on a Friday mid-morning, a client has decided to have a teleconference to go through their ideas for a job that needs a complete rework for a client meeting Wednesday next week.

’Scuse me if I don’t fall off my chair in shock, surprise or anything other than a spot of moderately weary resignation that this is the way of things. This particular job is also being developed with a writer who, being a mother, has the added joy of school finishing early today at 1pm and therefore having a short supply of available concentration time this afternoon.

When, during the teleconference, the client outlined the timescale for delivery, there was an unhealthy and awkward pause, during which the writer and I really couldn’t think of anything to say. Well, no really easy way of saying “you’re fucking kidding, right?”. Having had a previous deadline reduced from nine days to two to get a bunch of visuals in on time, and having shoved tons of other work out of the way to do so, it does grate somewhat to have the same thing repeated no more than a week later, after getting things back on track (ish).

Not that I hold anyone at the client particularly responsible. Being the supplier at the end of a long chain of clients, end-clients and legal departments means that everyone’s hold-ups collect in a malodorous pile on my desk. My client is running about almost as much as I am to get this stuff delivered to their client. One of the more difficult things about operating a business and being in direct contact with clients is knowing how to say no, or to knock them back when they start treating you (unconsciously, I hope) as an employee, or at least as someone who has no other clients than them.

Terpsichore, my legal-eagle chum, often has the same problems with one of her clients for whom she does a three-day-a-week residency at their HQ. Her immediate bosses have no space in their diaries for any new appointments between now and Christmas, yet she’s just been asked (well, it’s basically been assumed) to attend three meetings, at which she’s expected to stand up and do a presentation, in just over a week. In Birmingham, Manchester and London (I think). Finding just the right levels of insouciance with which to raise one eyebrow, laugh and say “I think not” are sometimes a little tricky.

And, instead of getting on with the work, what am I doing? Blogging... ;-)


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