When you need a contingency plan for yourself…
If I plan an armed robbery of a bank and fire a couple of shots into the air from my gun, then I should get around five years in prison if television has taught me anything!
That was the first thought that went through my head when I was initially told that I was going to have a second child.
My next thought involved me doing a totally awesome impression of the Road Runner shooting off into the distance – Meep Meep!
Finally I did some maths in my head…
“But that means it’ll arrive in the middle of event season. I can’t have a baby during event season!!!”
My first born was sat smugly reading in the corner. She is too young to comprehend any of this, but the look on her face said, “I came out of event season Daddy!”
So, after a visit to the doctors, and two rejected applications to join the Navy, I started coming to terms with the fact that I was going to have to deal with a child arriving in the middle of the busiest time of the year for someone working in outdoor sports events.
The next step was to tell my boss. I have never wanted someone to be an arse more in my life. “Sorry Nik, that’s not my problem. You’ll just have to find a way to make it work. There’s no way I can give you time off then!
That’s what I was hoping he’d say. But NO! He’s a bloody saint isn’t he? “Congratulations mate. Don’t worry about it, we’ll make it work. Family comes first.”
To be fair, I knew he’d be like that. I’ve worked with Chris for 11 years and he’s the most understanding, supportive boss you could wish for and genuinely practices the family comes first motto.
So, the hating my boss and saying “Screw you! See you after my paternity leave”, plan was also out of the window. When someone is as understanding as that, you actually feel even worse for knowing you’re going to make things less smooth than normal and will put upon the person giving you that support.
We are a relatively small team at Perfect Motion so a lot of work is undertaken by very few people. With us all having such different workloads across different areas it’s not easy to have more than one person knowing everything about an event or account.
I am very used to writing contingency plans for a variety of potential scenarios across the events we deliver, from bomb threats and protests, through to extreme weather. But I’ve never had to contingency plan for myself before.
When you are very close to something, as I am with the events I deliver, you become personally connected to them. Letting bits of it go when you’re that close to it is difficult. It’s not about a lack of trust in the people around me. I trust them implicitly. It’s knowing they’re having to do it because I won’t be able to. It’s almost guilt that you feel.
In the end I decided to tackle myself as though I was any other problem during the planning of an event. I looked at the problem and started looking at solutions.
I identified which events were most at risk of me being absent and prioritised passing on my knowledge and contacts for these. And I started including the colleagues who would be involved in more of the conversations taking place so they started to get to know the relevant names and places involved.
I then spent most of the last month touring the various cities we have events in and walking through the events with my team. “This is the route, we have this traffic management here, toilets are open in this place, don’t put this sign there or that goat will kill you.”
And the long car and train journeys in between gave ample opportunity for plenty of questions to be asked.
Having been through this process, I definitely feel better about it all. I’ve had to get myself a subscription to Tena Man for the impending second child situation, but I feel much more comfortable with the work scenario.
The event season is coming whether I like it or not so all I can do is plan as best I can, put all I can in place and hope for a smooth delivery.
Hmm, what else could that sentence refer to?