Two wonderful sites that are helping me right now: Smashing things and then relaxing
- Have you ever wanted to destroy your office desk? You HAVE to go to this site. Addictive.
- This music video changes depending on local time and weather. Nice song, relaxing and hypnotic.
What a day, or as S says, “Giornataccio!”
My boss is on a one-week holiday at Isola d’Elba. He never takes vacation, and it is much-deserved. Unfortunately, when the cat’s away, the mice will play. And also the mice will create complete and utter havoc.
In my case, I am his back-up, so I help out on a few of his projects and do things like answer, “he’s on vacation” 7 billion times. Most people look at me strangely, because he really doesn’t ever take vacation. They usually give a glance at his desk anyway.
We have a big project that of course, is way behind schedule. We only got the final go from the client last week. It involves a lot of servers and equipment which is where I come in. The problem is, the project has to be ready for when the World Cup starts. As in, next week.
The long and short of it is, one supplier gave us a quote and time estimate, which was accepted by the client. Then that supplier told us it would take a month, putting us in July. No go. We had to call a second supplier but we already had an approved budget by the client.
The second supplier could get us the equipment not in time, but by the skin of our teeth to make the project timing still acceptable to the client. But of course, with more cost.
The project manager is leaving the company within a week or so due to maternity needs, and is working from home every day. My boss is on vacation and had made the agreement with the supplier.
Spotlight on Sara, stage left. She’s waiting for the President of the company to receive her in his office and to get signatures on these supplier contracts. For the over-budget project. As in, we are definitely not making any money on this project. We’re losing.
Her hands are already sweating. She discovers she has a stutter that has never appeared in any form of English speaking. If you remember, she doesn’t have very good luck when it comes to being in the President’s office.
Apparently he’s never heard of project before Sara walks into office. “We have a viral that’s going to last a year?”
“No, but in order to get the equipment in the times they wanted, we had to order -”
“So we’re just going to foot the bill? Why the hell do I care about (x project)?” He’s getting angry but I really appreciate his candor. It would be difficult to get the same reaction in an American office.
“Um, I believe it’s within the budget of the project?” Surely my boss wouldn’t agree to an over-budget project if he didn’t have a plan, right? Right?? Please be right. I have no data or paperwork to back this up. Where is the project manager?
I sit patiently while President makes 700 phone calls to our client director, my boss on vacation, and others and with each, his voice gets louder.
He signs the papers, with a few choice words, and I hightail it out of the office, back upstairs. He’s hot on my heels, though. He has a few things to say in person to the directors in my office. I am officially 2 for 2 in the Prez’s office.
When I come back to my desk, there’s an email from the project manager.
Don’t send the contracts to the supplier yet. We’re still waiting for the final go from the client.
No other information. Crap crap crap. I just caused all this strife for a project that we might not do? Not including the supplier that is starting to get angry on the order he started already based on a verbal agreement and no signed contract.
And in fact, as I think about him, he calls me on the phone.
This would be a good time to point out that since he is a new supplier, we are still using the Lei form, which is formal. And very hard for me. Especially on the phone.
Oh yea, and have I mentioned that I haven’t learned to lie yet in Italian? Wait, I mean, omit, embellish, skip around….
“So, there is a possibility the project will not go forward?”
No, no, no. Of course not. Absolutely not.
“Well, yes, there is a possibility, but not much.”
Doh. Now I’m in trouble.
“Oh? Well, we’ve been working for almost a week now on this, because of our verbal agreement.”
You might be really upset if the client bails on us. I, of course, will have to tell you because the room seems to have emptied in the meantime.
“Yes, I totally understand, we will notify you as soon as we have information from the client….yes, of course I understand work is already being done. Thank you for being patient.” (Stutters were removed for your reading ease)
Stay tuned for Part 2: The Client’s Answer
Can Sara save the day or will she spend Thursday, the day before a national holiday, doing Damage Control. You’ll know when she does!