We're a small consulting firm and we take on a variety of projects. Some are just a few days, others last months and months. We live with a spectrum of decision-making styles from our clients as well. Sometimes a prospect (or returning customer) will go from “can you do this? how much will it be? when can it be done?” to “ok, make it so” in a matter of days or even hours. Other times we wait through weeks of “getting things approved” in order to do a week of work. This means that when we agree to do something, we're not always sure when we're actually going to be doing it.
This month the stars have aligned to push me up against a fence of hard deadlines all coming at once. I have a lab to complete for TechEd (you're coming to TechEd, aren't you?) and the first draft of my slides are due. I'm writing some samples and documentation (more on that later,) that are due March 31st. My slides are due for VSLive (you're coming to VSLive, aren't you? Early bird ends the 31st and you can get 10% off by dropping my name -- literally, the discount code is KATE.) The conferences aren't until May but prep time is now. My website accessibility project is being reviewed by the committee this week. And our major intranet project keeps growing and growing as the end users like what we've done so far and keep asking for more. The client where I delivered 49 days of .NET training over the winter is kicking off ASP.NET and Sharepoint projects like there's no tomorrow, and they need days of mentoring.
In this business, you're either insanely busy trying to meet the deadlines others impose, or you have nothing to do and you're scrambling for work. I think I prefer it this way, though I am looking forward to some time off. Last night in a Messenger conversation one of my deadline owners told me “enjoy your weekend” -- my reply? “Luckily I enjoy working!” And I do.
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