February 28, 2014

Today, as I was cleaning out a file, I found my scribble from a meeting where I was told by a client contact they had $400K available in 2013; and $400K available in 2014 to fund a meeting to be held in the second quarter of 2014.

My original estimate for what they were looking for was $227,000 to cover 700 hours of time needed to deliver eleven-to be determined deliverables of communications/interactive elements.

My most recent quote to them for those very services still to be defined despite 430 hours of discussion is $182,750 for an expanded list of deliverables.   That is a savings of $44,250 over the original or almost 20%.

In this new century, did I miss a change in rules?  Is saving dollars now frowned upon?  Does coming  in  OVER budget signal success?

In fairness to them I reminded them at the same time and ONCE AGAIN that my hours continue to grow (monthly time tracking began October 31 so that situation had been reported in writing monthly ever since.)  I offered several options- two of the four would keep us within the 700 hours originally presented and all four options yielded at least a savings of $24,000 over the original estimates. 

And then began one of those bad dream scenes from a movie.  They did not like any of the ideas presented to date and felt they would get better alternatives from the team, so they would be working with them directly in the future and did not need me any longer.

That’s ok, but the ideas presented were from the very people with whom they are now working directly.  I am not opposed to one on one discussions.…in fact, they were already doing that in subcommittees.

Nevertheless, along with those statements, was the fact that early on they sent me an e mail about 26 brainstorm ideas we had sent them to try to get some feel for what they were looking for, as they were having trouble defining what the “what” was.  They rejected all 26 and told me they questioned my thinking in suggesting that anything would happen in cafeterias “when only 5% of employees” ever go to the cafeterias.

Guess what they decided in the midst of all this brouhaha?  You got it!  All the “interactives” will be staged in the cafeteria.  (Forgive me, it’s their word not mine….somehow the use of interactive engagement to reinforce a message, achieve a goal has morphed to something called “interactives” that  IS the goal of the meeting.  Even my computer knows this is not a word as it continues to signal in red that something is wrong J)  But I digress; my point was the cafeterias have morphed from how stupid we were to suggest using the cafeteria  into their location of choice.

The point is, I don’t think I had a stroke and didn’t know it between May and October when I donated over 100 hours of time; nor do I recognize that I’ve had one sometime between November and today, but either I did, they are crazy, or the moon wobbled; we didn’t know it and its thrown us off kilter.


All I know is after 310 hours of recorded time of which they paid me for 200, I told them I would not work for free for the remaining 3-3.5 months and they opted to set me free.  YES!  Much better to have this be THEIR decision than for the first time in my career, to walk away from a job without finishing it, no matter how bad it is.  Even with MRP, I did not quit the project; I merely refused to attend meetings where a local resident was allowed to scream at me every week.

So all is well that ends well and I prefer not to question a good thing!  Whether it’s me, it’s them, or the moon wobbled, I am happy and smiling again.   And I am sure they are too! J

And yesterday I started a new paying project.  My very first corporate client assigned to me back in 1970 was Control Data.  CDC remained an entity in/out of my first career at BI/CMG, as well as in my second career as the owner of a small business (CEK) that is coming to a close in June.  That variation on a theme has resurfaced THIS WEEK as a possible bridge to a third career and I take that as a good sign.

If nothing else, it’s continuity…even if the moon did not wobble and I AM the crazy one!


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