Tunnel vision

tunnel visionI think I might have mentioned that I had a few late nights at the current day job last week.  During that time I noticed something I found quite interesting.

I noticed that my manager had a bad case of tunnel vision.  Let me set the scene and explain a bit more.

The start of a new month is actually month-end at the day job, and it’s always a busy time for us finance folk, as we’re closing down a whole month of financial data so we can see how we did in December.  But at the beginning of January it’s also year-end – yup, you guessed it, we’re also closing down the whole of 2014’s financial data.  So there’s a little bit of extra work  As well as that we have the auditors in, checking that what we’ve recorded is accurate and fair, and they ask for bits and pieces of info to help them do that.  So it really is very busy for us number crunchers.

Knowing all of this, I also knew I would have to put in a few extra hours helping the team cope with the extra work.  That’s to be expected and I was prepared to stay a couple of hours each day, or work through a couple of lunches to get things done.

What I wasn’t prepared for was a manager who expected me to work through lunch, right up until 8pm or 10pm with no break at all, do this for a whole week, stay just because she ‘might’ need me later in the evening even though I had no urgent work left and then act surprised when I asked how I would be compensated for the additional time I had done.  She felt that a few extra hours here and there were normal.  She’s right – a FEW extra hours are normal.  In every other company I’ve ever worked in though, it is also normal to agree upfront with your employees what kind of compensation there will be, and at what point – time off, overtime payments etc.  I would also expect a compassionate manager to make sure their team were adequately fed and watered if they were to work such long hours.

Unfortunately, on all the nights that I was there at dinner time or long past dinner time, there was no mention made of getting some food in for the troops.  Our (very thinly) veiled hints at how famished we were met with no response, except once when we were reminded that she couldn’t eat take-out as she was on a diet, and her dinner was getting cold at home.  Which is fair enough – for her.  But what about the rest of her team?  We were happy to ditch the diets for a day!

It was at that point that I realised she had extremely highly developed tunnel vision.  I started listening in to conversations and noticed that it didn’t register when her team complained about long-winded processes or unworkable deadlines – tunnel vision.  It didn’t register when she was enthusiastic about staying late but no one else in the team was – tunnel vision.  It didn’t register when everyone was hungry and fed-up but she wanted to carry on, and also wait for her dinner at home – tunnel vision.

So this week I’ve decided I am also going to develop a little tunnel vision.  Today, I got on with the tasks I needed to clear for the day, and then I put on my tunnel vision specs. I didn’t check in to see if there was anything else I could help with.  I wanted to go home.  My tunnel vision specs helped me focus on just getting the tasks done that would allow me to go home, and to ensure I didn’t even see any other tasks.  It;s a shame, because it goes against my natural instinct to want to help out.

But luckily, I also have the best possible source of tunnel vision – in the form of my excited, bouncy, ecstatic to have me at home pooch.

Work?  What work?  I’m loving my tunnel vision specs!


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