working late

From: S
Category: Other stuff
Date: 05 September 2002


Everyone has done it at some point. The old all-nighter. As the day begins to draw to a close you suddenly realise just how much you still have to do and how that 9 'o clock deadline tomorrow morning just isn't going to go away. Why? Because that's when the client wants it. And the client always gets what the client wants.

At this point, some people sigh and resign themselves to a night in the office. Others, myself included, grimly say 'no way' and create a detailed time plan which proves that the whole job will take no more than 3 hours to complete so getting to that BBQ at 9:30pm won't be a problem. You ring your friends to tell them this.

You ring them again at 8pm, when two hours of concentrated work have not yielded all the results you'd hoped for and finishing at 9pm is beginning to look a little optimistic. Others around you have got out the Chinese take-away menu and you find yourself thinking, 'well, I am hungry, maybe some food now and just drinks later would be a good idea'.

By the time you finish eating it is 9:30pm and you have been handed more things to do. There are also a few outstanding items on your original task list and you feel a sudden rush of panic as you realise that you are already 2 hours behind schedule.

You create a new time plan, which effectively demonstrates that you can now expect to finish at around midnight. Your friends call you and ask you where the hell you are. You meekly tell them that you won't be coming round after all, but have a drink on me. They are sympathetic and wish you luck.

So you get down to it again. The hours roll by. Someone has put on a CD. It is the soundtrack to Amelie and will put you in a good mood they say. You ignore them and continue to stare intently at your computer screen. The music is quite soothing however and you find yourself relaxing a bit.

You notice a curious change in atmosphere as midnight approaches. Everyone appears to be settling in for the night and with this resignation comes a certain good humour. Someone giggles. You look up in disgust and shake your head - 'not all of us are going to be here till morning' you think.

One of your spreadsheets develops a bug. You cannot figure it out. It is 2:30am and almost everyone else has gone home. You furiously try to kick your tired brain into action. A drunken phone call from one of your mates at the BBQ fills you with sadness and you feel very alone.

At 4am the doors rattle and you are jerked from a semi-stupor into a confused state of panic, thinking there must be a break in. You briefly see a way out of your crisis. But it is only the cleaners. They stare at you curiously and go about their business.

You finally reach breaking point at 6am and stumble to the communal seating area for some shut-eye. You've sorted the bug but that leaves most of your actual work still to be done. You curl up on one of the seats and instantly fall asleep.

An hour later you're back in front of your computer. You look a mess. At 8am the Managing Director arrives and tells you that you look a mess, 'but did you manage to get everything done?' You nod in a daze and get a pat on the back which almost knocks you over. 'Well done! Now I just have to do my bit and then we can send it out by the end of play today'. You feel like screaming.

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