Friday, May 30, 2014
saturdays in sakhalin: in search of balance
Another Saturday, another day in the office. Of course, my employment contract does stipulate working 6 days per week, so my presence in the office today is perfectly normal, even expected. The real issue is what happens tomorrow. Another Sunday, another day in the office? Probably yes. We have still not gotten the staffing situation to the level it really needs to be at and it wears on everyone else as a result. I have been in this situation before. In the short-term, people can power through and operate like this for a few months. In the long-run, this is not sustainable. Not just for me (though I really don't ever worry about myself in this sense), but rather for the people who work lateral and below me. I am a shepherd of of sorts, though no biblical analogies are intended. This is what managing is though: tending to your staff, developing them, making sure the work is getting done, offering support, and every so often you lose people, sometimes at their own volition and sometimes at your own volition. I know I can only push people so hard before something gives. I have often wondered how hard I can be pushed. Very hard is my answer from experience, but my most difficult assignments have also been relatively short. I can sustain the pace for roughly a year so that's what I know I can do, but a single year is not a long-term solution. However, I have come to (somewhat) jokingly say that there are never the right number of employees. Either we have too many people relative to activity and revenue and need to transfer people out or we have too few people. We never have "Goldilocks" staffing levels because something is always changing. Thus, the only balance is dynamic, like moving back and forth to keep a pendulum balanced above its pivot.