Saturday, June 9, 2007

It's The Dead Of Night And I'm At Work

As I write this it is the dead of night, 12:54AM Friday night (or, really, Saturday morning) . . . and I am at my desk at work.

I just finished crunching a load of data so more work can be done this weekend. Such is life in an evil global biotech company.

I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. I’m a f*ckin’ slave to my job.

So why am I sitting here at work surrounded by pages of data, rubbing raw, bleary eyes and hating life when I should be at home, snug in a warm, soft bed next to my lovely wife and falling into a coma-like sleep? Two words: irrational management.

I’ve been working like a frickin’ maniac for months now on a product which is basically a line extension of an existing product family. By the time the product came to me from our chemists, the Big Talking Heads who run the programs around here figured they could just hand it off to me and my team and we’d simply prove that the rosy image of their product was correct – that their product was the king of products, able to outshine all our others, cure cancer, stop aging, and fight off packs of ravenous dogs while emitting the lovely aroma of baked bread. They figured we could do all of our analyses in a single month and be done with it.

But no one asked me – the one actually doing the work.

In the 8 years I’ve been here I’ve been responsible, at one level or another, for development of 34 products. NONE of them took only a single month, including a number of much simpler products.

I and my team are now at the very end of the product’s R&D stage – three and a half months later. But, being irrational and wanting everything to be done now-now-now, the Big Talking Heads have put pressure on my boss. My boss responded, as he always does, by saying yes to all their demands and moved up the finish date.

Again, he didn’t ask my opinion.

Now I and a colleague have to pull double-duty (including tonight and this weekend) to try to squeeze in most of the rest of the testing. Some testing simply won’t be done in time, which puts us in the awkward position of having to choose which crucial data to leave out. My boss will look good for having gotten the job done earlier, but guess who’s going to have to answer for any holes in the data. And the product quality will suffer. If we’d only had a couple more weeks, as I had planned well ahead of time, all of the R&D work would be completed.


Image taken from HERE.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain and can empathisize...I spent the weekend going over 400 pages of SAS printouts trying to QC someone else's work on a report that already had 4 or 5 folks review it (and comment using the dreaded "track changes" tool). This thing had more colors than our box of Crayolas!

Deadlines that you don't have any input on SUCK big time. But I'm one of those type A folks (trying to reform, really) who promises things will be done by almost but not quite impossible deadlines - then I have to deliver. AHGH..when will I learn?

I spent way too many years in your situation, that is why I broke free of the big pharma. world almost 11 years ago and jumped into freelance writing. Making my own deadlines is a little easier, sticking to them is a whole other story!

Nice to see that your boss is so kind as to take credit for meeting the Deadline from Hell! Too bad he won't take credit/blame for your lack of sleep, transposed digits on the write-up, inability to find your way home at 3 a.m., and the fact that your wife and kids don't remember what you look like!


Angry Lab Rat said...

No kidding, Kim. I'm so braindead from late night work that, when leaving a phone message for someone yesterday, I actually forgot my home phone number! You can imagine my embarrassment as their recorder is roling and I'm stumbling through it!

lila said...

eeks, that's very unreasonable. Do you at least get paid overtime? I sure hope so, even though it might still not be worth the pain.

Angry Lab Rat said...

Alas, Lila, no overtime compensation, being salaried at my company. Sometimes an understanding boss will allow an unofficial comp-time (which isn't officially accepted practice), and I've used this in the past, but the usual case is that they set an impossible timeline that cannot be reached unless you spend nights and weekends to get there.

My boss typically doesn't come right out and say "you will work this weekend," but he plays up every extra minute of overtime he personally spends (which isn't anywhere near me, by the way), and isn't shy about pointing out deadlines.