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If you thought you’d had a tough week…

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Monday, 24th August 2009

Thoroughly fraught start to the week again with yet another induction for new employee. Horribly aware of failing my business coach’s mantra of “if you are in the room, be in the room” as my mind skitters about over 100 other things I should be doing, plus a mental torrent of vitriol towards the computer systems, which have disconnected from my computer yet again. Humour on this not improved by smug computer man pointing out it’s due to left hand having disconnected wires when plugging iPod in on Saturday – just for once, not the fault of his inadequate repairs.

Certainly not going to risk mentioning to left hand who is endeavouring to pull rabbits out of the bag organising huge amounts of furniture going out the door this morning. Suffering desperately from one line manager being off long-term sick and adjacent one being new; combination causing distinct blockages in normal flow.

On top of that, theory is that we close this Friday for our annual shut down. Whereas normally we have some flexibility in deadlines, absolutely anything and everything must have gone out the door by then. All this with staff whose minds are clearly on holidays already!

Tuesday, 25th August 2009

Continuing to limp towards summer shut down this Friday. Always a huge debate as to the merits of closing formally or letting people take random holidays. Have done a formal shut down for three years now and week before is always living hell. On top of work pressure, everyone – including myself – is tired, stressed and in a generally foul mood. Even the simplest thing seems impossible to achieve.

Had enormous list of where I wanted to be before shut down – personally and professionally. My house has taken upon itself to fall to bits this year, not aided by a slow leak from the washing machine spreading throughout the ground floor. In turn, this has now upset the electrics and this weekend my stereo chose to blow up…and am not civil without my music! Have been battling between disinterested builders and dicey insurance company whose final offer falls vastly short of real cost – they have a little wheeze going to make everyone use their buildings by slightly undercutting and not including VAT on payouts to anyone else; a practice which strikes me as extremely dicey.

Reality is starting to dawn on me that have failed to book holiday, house in total disarray and business way behind schedule in various areas, which means that I will be coming back in ten days with a ridiculously over-full diary, to live on a building site. Fun times – on top of which left hand says I am being thoroughly self pitying (and the little brute is probably right!). 

Wednesday, 26th August 2009

Disgraced self by ending meeting hurling mug at door closing behind huffy left hand. Resultant scattering of broken china hugely satisfying if messy and staff in office hugely, if quietly, productive for rest of day. However, not pleased with self – not professional behaviour at all. 

Concede that no-one winds each other up like left hand and I. Horribly alike, both hugely dedicated workaholics, who care passionately about the company and are both held back by chronic insecurities, our biggest problem is a complete failure to communicate with each other the moment we get tired or upset. 

Big difference, though, is I am supposed to be both boss and grown up here. When am I going to learn to be either?!

Thursday, 27th August 2009

Training plans have come together all of a sudden after weeks of work in the way that these things do. After weeks of debating needs and suitabilities and looking at limited in house resources, we now have a plan for year ahead, which is focused, easy to carry out and in budget. (Not that the latter will stop me investigating possibilities of grants with training needs provider from Business Link when they visit in a couple of weeks! Suspect that we might get a bit for management training and not much else as don’t want to launch NVQs till next year and that paperwork may be more onerous than grant is worth but we shall see.)

Like so much we are doing, though, this now seems eminently do-able, and indeed already partly booked in and therefore we can believe that this will be achieved rather than just be something we are always talking about. The difference it is going to make to both myself, left hand and indeed staff, to see all these plans become reality should be fantastic for morale, come the autumn. Very, very positive stuff.

Friday, 28th August 2009

The day has come! Today heralds both our annual shut down – yeah!!! – but also for me a very strange landmark. Previously referred to as right hand, alias head of sales, alias my son leaves the company today after six years…

He is off working his way round the world, including a very daunting-sounding trek of Great Wall of China in the spring for the wonderful charity Have a Heart, which raises money for underprivileged children. He would welcome donations on this!  

Because his heart has not really been with us for a while, I can see that while he will leave a huge gap, it will in some ways be beneficial to the business and indeed am absolutely thrilled with the new sales team we have put together. That notwithstanding, as a mum watching him hand in his keys for the last time and knowing he will not be there when we come back in September it is – if I allow it – hugely emotional. The wild leaving party that has been planned for this evening is a bit of a black spot in my diary and I will be glad to wake up tomorrow and find it is finally all over.


It’s nice to know that real-life stories do occasionally have happy endings. Jan Cavelle is on holiday now until 7th September. A well-earned break! If you’ve had a tough week in business, tell us about it. Add a comment below.

Related articlesJan Cavelle: Real Business diaristMore red tape for businesses



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