Thursday, June 15, 2006

What day is it again?

I'm starting to lose track of the days, but I understand that tomorrow I get to sleep in my own bed again, so I'm pretty happy about that.

Madrid's hot. The air conditioning is not functioning quite as well as you would expect. I've just got back to the hotel after a very pleasant meal out with all our workshop guests, organised by the Madrid branch. It was a pretty sweet restaurant, classic Spanish fare, ie. serrano ham and small fish fried, or should that be small fried fish? Plus a few drinks and amiable chit chat without too much of a heavy focus on discussing work. That's always the hard part of these trips - it's so easy to just talk work work work when you're out because if this is the first time you've met it's all you know you have in common - but I implore you to resist. You never get to know people if you just talk about work.

Though we did talk quite a bit about upcoming projects because it's just unavoidable. It's the first time I've been to Madrid and it did remind me a little of why (sometimes) I really do like what I'm doing. I know I've been having serious doubts about whether I'm doing the right thing workwise (and I still haven't made my mind up) but it's genuinely rewarding to have someone you've never met before come up to you and thank you for all the work you've put in on their behalf, and how you've been an invaluable help to them. And then to say to their boss (the head of IT) 'oh, this is Will, he's been helping us a great deal over the last few months' as to draw their attention to the fact that I am actually on their side. And I am. As I am with all the other countries we look after, some people just do not see that side of what I do, and the countless hours of justifying and negotiating that goes on in the UK, out of their sight.

And for them to say they're really thankful that we've come over to visit them, and gain a better understanding of their setup. They've felt quite isolated from the rest of the organisation over the last few years, but the project I'm working on has already made them feel less neglected and they seem genuinely enthusiastic for what is to come, even though I've had the unenviable task of telling them exactly what is to come, and how difficult it's going to be.

So yeah, days like today do make it seem worthwhile.

Even if it was too hot to be giving a presentation and I was sweating all over the place.

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