What is the point (actually)?

I’m not given to introspection or navel gazing, life is too short for that, but sometimes you do have to sit back and think exactly why am I doing this?

I read an article recently that discussed the all pervading e-mail and how it had come to mean that you were never uncontactable. Ironically, I read the article when I was on holiday, but that’s a whole different basket of apples.

Essentially the article was describing the pressure that people felt under to be constantly available to reply to e-mails from clients or colleagues and how, particularly in more forward thinking countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, companies are now beginning to block e-mails to employees that they know are on holiday. Given the very nature of their personalities, the worst offenders seemed to be UK and US businesses.

I recently spent two days with old friends, one of whom I see regularly, one I haven’t seen for many years. Both were surprised at my fairly Luddite approach of not having e-mails sent to my phone. One of the reasons for this is the sheer amount of junk mail I get sent, comfortably in excess of 95% of all e-mails I receive. I have no desire to be constantly responding to dings only to discover that it is yet another e-mail about “stunning investment properties in Doncaster” (seriously????)

I am able to access e-mails when out of the office but it is via a fairly convoluted back office, shadow system. That means, particularly when I am on holiday, I have to make a special effort to fire up the Quattro to check e-mails etc. That therefore means that I don’t do it very often.

This year I found myself with a number of assignments ongoing at the very time we were away. Much can be managed prior to departing these shores, but it is instructive to note how slow moving clients are, and yet how quickly they demand responses from you (even when they know you are uncontactable).

But you respond as quickly as you can, even at the expense of doing something else that you’d really prefer to be doing. In my experience, this was the worst year for work impacting on my holiday.

So you would expect, by going the extra mile for my clients, that that period was the most productive?? Think again, mes amigos. Every single assignment that I was working on, on my one holiday a year, went Pete Tong, through either candidate stupidity, client incompetence or a combination of both.

So I ask you again, what was the point?

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