After a long and treacherous week which spanned all possible occurrences ranging from falling quite ill, to squabbling with friends, to trying to solicit deals, to hearing not so positive news at work; I needed a relaxing Saturday night out with friends. It was an attempt to forget the miserable gone week and hope that the coming weeks would bring along more cheer. So when Mr. Time Sheet called to suggest a late night movie or drinks after dinner, I was quite excited. I mean now this is one intelligent gentleman (unlike the men mentioned in my last post) who knows how to have a laugh.
Initially Mr. Time Sheet was certain that we could meet for pre-dinner drinks. I was not hopeful. He had spent the night before last at work, left post nine last night (and was happy to be out “early”) and was back to work this morning (a Saturday!). Now given this track record I safely assumed that we would be able to meet only post dinner. So I made alternate dinner plans and was lounging at home when Mr. Time Sheet called. Apparently, it would take him longer than expected. He suggested that Mr. Builder picks me up and we meet at about 11:00 pm somewhere close to his work place. I gave myself a pat on the back (I knew he would never make it before 10:30 pm) and decided that when Mr. Builder would come and pick me up, instead of calling Time Sheet we would just land up at his office. It would ensure that the poor guy would get out and take a well deserved break.
We reached the offices of this premier organization at 11:40 pm and called up our dear friend. No answer on his mobile. So we dialed the land line. A sleepy sounding attendant answered and confirmed that our friend was around. He was alive and kicking and just this information was comforting! (Ok I am exaggerating!). Time Sheet slowly walked out of the office. He looked kaput! I insisted that we wait while he wrapped up his work. So we were invited to come into the office and wait at the reception rather than stand outside on the deserted street. This is where the fun starts.
All of us have worked all night longs and put in 28 hour days at some point or the other. However, none of us would have worked like my dear friend did. The office was undergoing pest control. Along with the germ laden air conditioned air there was a heavy dose of pesticide in the office environment. And this is what greeted us into the office that Mr. Time Sheet had been confined to the whole long day. Interesting! As we walk in I also see that the elevator is under refurbishment and there are some repair works going on. So my friend toils on the documents as the laborers toil on the bricks and mortar, all subjected to some additional pollution of dust and lime maybe. Now Time Sheet goes into work leaving me, Mr Builder and some dust covered sofas with the attendant. Out of curiosity, I ask the attendant how many people are there in the office. He goes for a quick round, comes back and says three. Just three? Just three people working all these hours while the others are sleeping in the comforts of their homes? Just three when the revenues earned would support the thirty others in the team? Just three when it could have been five sharing the work and ensuring everyone went home on time? Not fair!
Well life can be unfair! Look at this. The attendant informed us that there were 12 attendants in all, working different shifts. So he has 11 replacements! And here Time Sheet has not even been given one! Anyway, Builder and I query what were to happen if all 12 were to fall ill simultaneously? The attendant just laughed and said “how can that happen?” My question is what will happen if Time Sheet who has no replacement falls ill? Then who will take over and fill in? There has to be a balance! A balance between work and life. A balance between delegation and supervision. A balance between staying up late and sleeping. A balance between moving ahead in a career and burning out too quickly. Hopefully Time Sheet will find the balance soon and not burn out. He is an asset to his firm as very emphatically stated by his senior who later accompanied us to a nice session of drinks and a very late night dinner. I hope his firm realizes the asset he is and compensates him with a commensurate bonus. At least then I can go out and claim a treat ;-)! Until then let us all plug along and find that balance!