lifes earthquakes…

the past week has been a bit nuts at work. Everything we’ve been working towards stopped, got thrown up in the air and we were stood around waiting to see what (if anything) would fall back down again. Basically a Key player in our project threw a wobbly on the other side of the atlantic, and there was nothing more than a contract, emails and a few chat conversations (or lack of them) holding it together.

This has made me think about people and contracts and prices and all that stuff. Haggling to get a price down on peoples skills isn’t good. It appears good initially. People over inflate their prices, positions are offered too cheaply, everyone meets in the middle, both parties are happy. But what about if people ‘don’t’ over inflate their prices to start with? The same process happens, and that ultimately ends with a contractor losing out. There’s a good reason why people are paid the price they are paid. Its about self worth. Get it right and you get a happy employee, get it wrong and you get trouble. Things that can seem initially ‘cool’, niggle people. Time and undervalued payment can build and build into an issue that wasn’t considered a problem. But bills come in & payments go out. Contract or no contract, if a person feels undervalued, and regrets an agreement, then either way you look at it, you’re both going to be in a bad position.

The employee is going to lose motivation. The production is going to slow. The stress is going to increase. The demands aren’t going to go away. The deadlines aren’t going to move. Pressure builds, and ultimately has to release eventually. Either by effort and necessary completion or mental breakdown and everything stops.

That’s what happened in a nutshell.

Now I also fully understand that without sacrifices on both sides, projects can’t happen. But bills have to be paid, and ‘self worth’ still rears its head if the balance isn’t right. Something will display that unbalance, either in the person themselves, the quality of work delivered, or the communication required complete the project. Somethings got to give, and it will eventually.

There’s also an assumption that if someone isn’t happy, you’ll get to find out about it. Maybe, if you’re lucky. But I’ve learnt that more people remain silent for waaay too long (usually out of fear for their position) before letting off steam or suffering in someway. Mostly discovery of an issue comes too late. Then it becomes a case of damage limitation or extreme groveling.

Damage limitation is normally swift action to protect, and falling back on the terms and conditions of a contract. Fair enough, its why they exist. However its only in these time of desperation, do we really analyse contracts and agreements to understand what they really mean. In law, a couple of seemingly meaningless words can have massive implications without predudice. And unless you have a law degree, you’re not going to know what the words are, and even if you know what they are, you won’t necessarily know what they mean in ‘law’.

Today the air cleared. Everything that was thrown up, came fluttering undamaged back down again. People can sleep easy again, with only a few missing heartbeats to show for it.

Earthquakes are more common than people think. I don’t want another one for a looong loooong time!


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