Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Chilled

Just getting into the swing of travelling back up to London, having spent Thursday and Friday away from the client's. They had suggested that I work remotely from my own office, to which I reluctantly agreed, but as it happened they couldn't get their act together in order to make things happen in time.

So, Thursday I headed over to my local garden machinery shop, the guys who service the mower, and indulged in a new hedge trimmer. At double the price of the old one (which in fairness was total crap), it was either that or carry on using the shears! Needless to say, the result of this was around half an hour cutting and two hours tidying!

Friday, and I cycled Alice to school for the first time. She wasn't bad, around 25 minutes from home to school, although the journey back was somewhat longer since she was obviously quite tired. In between dropping off and picking up, Jacqueline and I headed over to Bournemouth where we enjoyed a delicious three course lunch at Oscar's, the restaurant at the Royal Bath. Mmmmmm.....my liver just melted in my mouth, and the smoked salmon starter wasn't bad either.

Saturday was very lazy, save for taking Alice to her tutor's. I even found time for an afternoon nap! Still, we made up for it on Sunday, when we went on Jacqueline's suggestion to a National Trust place just beyond Bath - Dyrham Park. Its a stately home plus deer park, and I managed many excellent photos of the resident fallow deer. We had a long walk in the grounds, up and down hills, and the fact that it was blowing a gale totally guaranteed Alice's misery.

Back up to London yesterday, only to find out that the clients had had some minor crisis while I was away, making me glad I hadn't been around - even though I was only up there three days last week I still ended up staying until 8 o'clock twice. The day was compounded when the member of staff I work quite closely with told me that he'd just quit, and my astonishment was complete when one of the client's managers - the person who decides whether or not they want to buy my company's services - asked me if I was interested in working there permanently. For sure I was mightily surprised that the question was asked - the first time in almost six years of providing consultancy services - but fortunately I had thought the scenario through previously and was able to regain my composure and say, "I'm very flattered, but...", and gave her a nice, solid, inoffensive reason why I wasn't interested. In fairness, I am sure she would have expected a negative response, I guess she was just going through the motions. Recruitment is an expensive business after all.

Of course the upshot of all this is that one does re-analyse the type of job offer that would be required in order to convince me to shut up shop and go back to working for someone else. But the bottom line doesn't change - for consultancy work, to a great extent the quality of the work is irrelevant, since the name of the game is to turn in a healthy profit; a potential job, however, would need to appear very interesting even to consider it.

So, an interesting day yesterday, especially in the context of the credit crunch and the anticipated job losses. The clients are obviously sufficiently impressed with the quality of the service that I won't be first out of the door at least!

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