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Bison And Business Calls

July 18, 2016

Hi, this is Rodney.

Yeah, this is Peter Galt. I wanted to ask you about a project that the client has requested we complete.

Give me a minute, Peter. I just need to get my kids back in the van. We’re driving home from Yellowstone National Park.

Oh. . .sounds like this isn’t a good time.

No, it’s fine. They’re watching a DVD. I saw your earlier email. What’s up?

I spent 10 days on vacation. I had a wonderful time. My family went to Southern Idaho for a reunion and then on to Yellowstone for a multi-family vacation. The campgrounds we stayed at all had cell phone coverage. That coverage not only allowed me to update this blog daily via my phone, it also gave me access to my corporate email. 

Do you check email on vacation? Many people view a vacation as an opportunity to completely disconnect and there is certainly value in that. A chance to reconnect with family and kids who may not see much of dad or mom during busy work weeks. Leave the phone at home and just enjoy the geysers, hotsprings and buffalo. I’m not one of those people. I have been in the past, but my current job is somewhat like a garbage man. 

Think about your garbage collector. He (or she) comes around on a particular day of the week and picks up the trash. But, if there’s a holiday, they don’t pick up trash. So, you put your can out a day later. But, just because there is a holiday doesn’t mean that you generate any less garbage. So, the garbage guy has to do in 4 days the work he normally does in five. He might get the day off, but there’s even more work waiting when he gets back. My job is like that. 

While I do have a designated backup for times I’m unavailable, my backup doesn’t really know my account. He’s someone to pick up the phone, and he can certainly push things through, he doesn’t have the background to manage my processes and projects. 

And, occasionally, because my account is unique, he will attempt to solve a problem and actually cause greater confusion because he’s using the standard process and my account has a unique process. So, coming back from time off is often a little like the garbage truck after the Fourth of July holiday. . .work piled up and less time to get it done. 

My solution is that I keep up on my email and projects. I read my email. I send status updates. I take phone calls. I know, sounds like my jobs sucks, right? But, there’s a certain empowerment in my approach. I get to own the interaction with my client. I get a reputation as a bit of a workaholic, but also as someone who is committed to meeting goals. And it’s actually not that much time. 

The best benefit of my approach? I don’t come back to 500 messages in my inbox. That alone is worth taking business calls while dodging bison. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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