21 August 2011

Why is it already half-way past August?

Yesterday afternoon, a friend told me that she couldn't believe how I have been surviving this summer.  In May, I was asked to take over managing the contract work for a different customer.  I've been doing it for our account with United Technologies; now they wanted me to do the same for Estee Lauder.  This came right after we finished signing a MAJOR extension of the contract with UTC, and there was a lot of work to be done on transition.  At the same time, the ELC account had signed a MAJOR extension, and there was a lot of work to be done there.  The person who had been in my role at the ELC account suddenly announced that for medical reasons she was retiring - and she went out on medical leave for the last two weeks!  Knowledge transfer?  Not so much.  Given that my predecessor at the UTC account had been gone for a year before I stepped into the role, I think they are starting a pattern of me going to accounts that are in a mess.
The ELC account is located in New York.  While the HQ is in Manhattan (and I've commuted there before, on a daily basis, for eight months, so no problem) the IT offices are on Long Island.  There is no convenient way to commute, even by ferry.  So it has involved driving there, although thankfully not on a daily basis!  I go, I stay, I come home.

However, at first they were going to have me MOVE there.  Yes, on top of all the work chaos, I was told to immediately sell my condo and move.  I pointed out that in this market, that was impossible without taking a huge loss - and what about the massive increase in living costs on Long Island?  I was told they didn't realize I wasn't just a renter.  Luckily, the person to whom I'd be reporting (UTC is Aerospace & Defense, ELC is Consumer & Manufacturing) backed me.  So did the person above him, the leadership of the account - and it turned out the person to whom I face-off at ELC not only lives in Florida, but was told that he would not be allowed to commute weekly to LI as he had done for the previous two years.  So there was no need for me to be on LI most of the time anyway.

However, there were a couple-three months of high stress while this all started to settle.  I still support both accounts, although last week they interviewed a couple people that they think can replace me on the old account.  I've given them a hard date of October 1st to do so, after which I hope to have an office either at home or some other location in the area.  I'll go to LI twice a month at most, on the weeks my counterpart is there.  And it's becoming an open secret that he and his team have been given their deadlines to wrap up things.  He already shares the role with someone in the UK, with whom I have done more of the work lately.  So I might not be interacting with anybody in LI at all, which makes going there even less of a requirement.  Many of the leadership of the account work remotely; the previous executive lives near Austin, TX, and the new one lives near Pittsburgh.  They commute into Long Island, but not every week, and on the weeks anybody comes in it's just Tuesday-Thursday.


The downside to all this is that between the extra work and the commuting, I've had less time to knit.  I also have missed a number of the boxes from my CSA and my foodwriting column is woefully behind.  My social life is much reduced, I do try to get to one or two things on weekends.  And my eating has been far too catch-as-can, I've missed going to my usual Farmer's Market on the weekend and my jamming and canning is way behind for the summer.

However, in the last few weeks things have started to turn around.  Apparently the fact that I have been successful in getting the account's contracting role into shape no matter where I'm located has been a factor.  With the adjustment to twice-a-month travel, I can plan to do things on my weeks in town.  It un-crunches my weekend because I don't have to get everything done in two days.  Yesterday I helped a friend paint her livingroom in advance of the tea party we are co-hostessing next Sunday.  I get to make some of the goodies - because I am in town!  I finally turned the last corner on the baby blanket I had just started last month, and I might work on it diligently for a while today while watching Cary Grant on TCM.  I have work to do - but there will be time for that later today.  And I need to get back to exercising so I am in shape for our trip to New Zealand at the end of October.  I joined something called Dish Rag Tag because it sounds like fun, I can use some quick-gratification portable knitting, and I hope we're done by then.