The all-day meeting with the client is pushed back and another meeting takes its place. The teams are told by the acquisitions leader that the client is not happy with our requirements. Wagons are circled and everyone defers to their team leads. We are all to be on our best behavior and avoid mentioning timelines or other key phrases that sets the client’s teeth on edge. We are pros. This is what we do and we know this stuff, but we have a line to walk: making the client happy and supporting our own clients downstream who depend on us for their data. Acquisition Teams always sweat; I suppose it’s what they do.

A text appears on my phone. “We took mom off the bipap machine and we are giving her nasal oxygen. We have decided on hospice care because we have decided to make sure she is comfortable.”

I refocus on the presentation and the droning becomes words again as the acquisition team lead walks the client through my process flow.

The hours pass with few breaks. Once we focus on the data mapping exercise I notice the people representing the client seem relieved. The unknown always frightens people, and they were beginning to understand it wasn’t as bad as they thought.

My phone buzzes. “Just found out the insurance company will be kicking mom out of the hospital tomorrow or Saturday. We will be doing hospice at home.” I text back, “Good. Better for her to be at home.” Droning again, and I ignore it. Another text. “She is delirious today, probably from the morphine and adavan.” “Talk to the nurse about balancing her meds,” I text.

As the droning becomes words again I can feel my mother, a woman’s whose first questions always included “How is your job going?” likely because her husband wasn’t the best at holding one down for very long. Her love of her job made me move gradually towards a place where I loved my own, where the idea of working long hours didn’t really matter. She always accepted my shortened visits because she understood that as a computer contractor I didn’t get paid time off. Now I do but I don’t know how to use it.

The hours role on with very few bio breaks. 4 pm. 5 pm. 6 pm. At 6:30 the acquisitions team lead is pushing for an important technical decision. I know it’s one that we have to craft perfectly, and it will not be done after 8 hours of straight meetings. So I suggest we hold off for tomorrow or the day after. He seems disappointed but the client and the other teams have already lost focus. It’s time to call it a day and regroup later.

After 11 hours I turn off the computer. Other challenges await but important decisions were made today, some more important than others.

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  9. Bookworm:

    I am so sorry about your mother. Even though we know life has to go on, when a close family member dies or is seriously ill, it takes a lot of work to keep ones perspective, balancing the various demands on ones attention, time, and emotions.

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