Monday, September 20, 2010

Mr. Elvin, You No Smile Like Before

Contractors and sub-contractors that I deal with regularly on my construction projects in the UAE call me Mr. Elvin. One has noticed and commented recently to me "Mr. Elvin, you no smile like before." I was ready to snap back with an angry reply, but thought better and held back. I was ready to tell him that because the project they are working on has been delayed so much, I am not able to take vacation as planned. I had to cancel a planned late summer Europe backpacking trip with three nieces.

In addition, I thought I was immune to the fiscal year end madness that I had experienced the past three years because I was no longer in a PM position but in a construction office. Because we are a small office in Abu Dhabi and our customer, the USAF, has requirements to commit expiring funds, I am doing almost the same thing I was doing the past three years -- not as many projects to award, but enough to require me to be at the office for the past 35 straight days, and for the next 10 days. I was looking forward to taking a 5 -day break to Germany this coming weekend, -- first to Hamburg, then to Munich for the Octoberfest. It was to be my fourth consecutive Octoberfest attendance. It is not looking too good. Our project customers are scrambling for additional funding to get some, if not most, of the new projects they have given to us to manage. It may happen before fiscal year end, it may not. Either way, I have to be around to be ready to react if they find the funds.

Yes, Mr. Elvin is not smiling like before. The vacation and the smile will have to wait until mid-October. That is when the big project I am managing is scheduled to be completed. I plan to take 10 days off to visit the Philippines and another 1 1/2 to 2 weeks somewhere else, in the US or Europe.

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