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I’ve spent most of the last three weeks based down at our Hampshire HQ working on another equipment trial. It’s been very interesting – as an engineer, I always find it highly valuable to work with end-users of our technology in a controlled setting and see whether/how much our innovations actually add value to them. But it’s very, very hard work – long hours, having to keep totally sharp and reactive the whole time, and responding flexibly to the needs of both the customer and the end-users. It’s simply not possible to pull it off successfully within the constraint of the three-day week that HR think I work, so I’ve been putting in full days (and then some) as well as doing a load of preparation over the weekends. Mind you, even then I was doing very short hours compared to some of the technical team, who were working solidly over the weekends and until 10pm several nights in a row to fix emerging bugs and do some last-minute technical fixes and improvements in response to feedback from the operators. It’s all gone very well, the most successful of the three trials I’ve participated in this year, and the team really pulled together well.

I’ve had to be very careful to try to pace myself over the last few weeks, as it would do no one any good if I overdid it and came down with a debilitating migraine right in the middle of one of the experimental runs. My boss has an ongoing agreement with my subcontractor, Dave, who is working very closely with me on this project, that he will keep an eye on me and send me back to the hotel in a taxi if (a) I’m looking too tired, or (b) the runs are dragging on and I’ve already done well over a full day’s work. It was quite funny on Monday when Dave was returning back to the lab from frog-marching walking  me to the main gate to get a taxi. He bumped into one of my management chain from the Malvern office, who was visiting the HQ quite independently of the trial, and of course seized the opportunity to check up on me. Dave was very pleased to be able to report that I was being sensible – even if it took significant coercion to force me to do so! It’s really annoying being bullied like that (and after all, I’m Dave’s customer!) but I do recognise that I’m my own worst enemy and will try to do more than I should as I don’t want to let the team down. Overall though, the plan worked well, and I have put in the longest hours that I’ve been able to manage since Chris was first diagnosed nearly three years ago. That’s encouraging. But I’m absolutely shattered now, and plan to take tomorrow off as time-off-in-lieu and have a bit of a lie-in for the first time in several weeks!

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Carol | 7 December 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Hope the lie in had the desired effect!
    If you are around through the festive season, maybe we can find a day to meet somewhere between Ledbury and Abergavenny… and make a plan for planting in the New Year.