Another choice for the title of this post is “Life gets in the way of work.” And, sometimes it does. It is what you do about it that matters. Anyone working, especially those in a professional career, have to ensure that, despite the fact that their own world may be upside down due to some personal or family emergency, the client doesn’t suffer. The overall point is: the show must go on. Clients will understand, to a degree, if one has a personal emergency, but clients should not become the confidant or therapist for a person having an emergency. And, clients will be even more understanding if their needs are not impacted by the personal problems of their consultant, service professional, vendor, or supplier. In personal crises, find someone to cover for you, alert clients to delays or problems (before they call angrily asking why something is not finished or delivered), and focus on keeping the clients happy even if other aspects of your work are temporarily thrown off course. Life is a part of work, just as work is a part of life.
Like almost everyone I know, I believe I am a busy person whose time is valuable. As the owner of the company and the person whose schedule changes most often, I am often amazed at the lack of consideration our employees show for our clients and my partner and me, their bosses. Due to the necessity of schedule changes dictated by our clients’ trial schedules, I am frequently required to change my schedule to meet the needs of our clients. Sometimes, my schedule is changed at the last minute; other times, my schedule changes several times during one day. I have learned to “roll with it,” but unfortunately, many of our employees, and prospective employees, are unable or unwilling to put our clients’ needs (and demands on our time) before their own personal issues. Certainly, our clients are human beings who have their own personal crises, but rarely have I ever worked for a client who was more concerned about one of my employee’s vacation plans, someone’s wife’s crying because she misses her husband due to his travel schedule, or the closing time of the day care center where my employee’s child goes after school. We had an employee who worked for us after her college graduation and, after working for us several years, went to graduate school with plans to return to work for us upon completing her Ph.D. When we were in the process of negotiating her hiring following her Ph.D., she announced she would only be available to travel 6 days a month! Imagine the ramifications to my clients if we hired someone who was only willing to help them 6 days a month! The main point is that everyone has a life outside of work, but it needs to be just that: a life outside of work.