Running for the Job

Go down four flights of stairs. Drop off large print order. Pick up box of documents from last order. Contemplate stairs and lug box to elevator instead. Start stuffing documents in folders. Make last-minute changes to documents not going in the folders. Go back down four flights to affix, distribute or place documents appropriately. Check on status of new print order. Go back up elevator and return to folder-stuffing. Avoid paper-cuts. Repeat.

What does all this mean? Project time! This was my day today, and it can’t be denied: Sometimes, working on a big project gives you a great workout.

All in all, I found today exhilarating, as each trip we made (fortunately all in one building) from one room to another brought us closer to completing all the parts that make up the one giant multi-layered event that’s been our umbrella-arc-project since before the holidays. The end result of our project officially kicked off tonight and is going for the next two days.

It’s pretty cool, knowing you were a part of something that people are already calling a success.

But what if you don’t like being on a big project? What if you secretly loathe getting hijacked into somebody else’s scheme because of the endless tweaks, missed deadlines (including the secret deadline and the drop-dead secret deadline), co-workers feigning deathly illness or the printer running out of cyan at a crucial 230-page moment?

Whether you’re the project manager or the project go-fer, when you have a job, you’ve got to do your best no matter what your actual level of frustration is. High-profile project or not, somebody’s eyes will be on you even if you don’t see them looking. You just can’t afford to be anything less than professional even if you wear your shoes out getting everything done.

What tips do you have for keeping your cool when you’re on a big project?  Even when you like what you’re doing, how do you avoid exhausting yourself running to make ends (and deadlines) meet?

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