I’ve been out of town, on business, for the past several days.
As a partner in a persistently lean small business there is little room to take on new initiatives, so when they happen I’m generally called upon to fit them into an already over-filled schedule. I have learned that this is pretty normal for many, if not most, small businesses.
What I found out this week is that it’s also true of big businesses. I met with officers and representatives from a number of large upstate companies this week, and they are all overworked, overscheduled and just plain tired. You could see it in everyone’s eyes, and it was only Monday. We ate dinner yesterday commiserating over beer and wine about the hours we spend on relentless demands from our jobs. All agreed that for most company managers the 40-hour work week is out of reach – way out of reach.
Lean manufacturing practices, the profit demands put upon a company by its shareholders, and a dismal upstate economy conspire to force elimination of any slop in corporate structure; but the work once performed by many still needs to be done by the remaining few. As a result one can expect that the abnormal weeks will require superhuman efforts.
This week, last week and the week before that were all abnormal for me.
The excitement of involvement in entrepreneurial business is tempered by the relentlessness of its demands. The work never, ever stops.