Sunday, August 26, 2007

Skeleton crews and coping with the holiday season

At this time of year as a manager of a team you have one major headache

Holidays - or as lawyers prefer to call it - annual leave

Now personally speaking I have two breaks every year one at Christmas for 10 days and one in early summer for two weeks. I dont as a rule take time during the year save for an odd day here and there. My reasons for taking such limited time off is simply that it is expected of me.

Ive had this routine for a while now and so have become accustomed to it. You cant complain if you reap other rewards generally and if the top brass dont holiday much - neither do the next tier down.

Now this little unwritten sub clause is not one that the junior staff need to adhere to. Its the one thing I envy them for. Leave will be used up at every opportunity

Right now were deep in the doo doo with barely 50% staff - despite this being a planned exercise its bloody difficult to keep everything ticking over.

You can guarantee the following during this difficult period:

- there will be a client complaint about service on an absentees file
- there will be a CMC on an absentee's file that lands annoyingly on the worst possible day
- the brass will ask awkward questions about an absentee's file you know there are problems with
- somewhat unhelpfully, other departments will offer little assistance and may relish the opportunity to give you a slap
- Morale for those left behind will be very low indeed.

How do you deal with this?

Simple - you get your skeleton crew pissed every Friday evening for the duration of the holiday slog. Young lawyers will always be happily rewarded with free beer and cheap curry.

Its a fact - Im telling you