The Global Lifestyle Time Challenge

Posted in Globalization, Time Management by artsciita on December 18th, 2007

I had a subtle career milestone today. Today I became fully aware that I was now "Global" ... with a capital "G" I think.

At about 6:30 am Central time I checked email at home before leaving for the airport. I saw an email from a business leader in the UK which set off alarms in my head that an important business decision my client needed to make was not being addressed. Knowing that a politically important deadline is approaching, I fired off a "this is a big issue!" email designed to alarm my readers that something important was not happening.

About 8 am Central time today I was waiting for a flight at the airport and my cell phone went off. It was that same business leader in the UK who took notice of my alarm. I don't know about you, but I don't get cell phone calls from people I've never met from other countries every day.

Shortly after arriving at my destination on the East Coast of the US, I scheduled a web meeting for tomorrow morning between people in Baltimore, Raleigh, California, and Beijing.

Later I was on a call between the US and Canada talking about interfaces to a system in China.

Still later I discussed architecture diagrams showing system components in Rochester (NY), Boulder, Dallas, Tulsa, Phoenix, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Toronto. I tried to figure out if the component in Hong Kong was really necessary. Could it be co-located with the rest of the stuff in Beijing?

I ate a hurried dinner of Tandoori Takki with two co-workers. One is a Norwegian citizen born in China but holding an American green card and the other was born in India but has been working in the US for a while. My history is boring compared to theirs.

Five minutes after checking into my hotel, I joined a conference call between the US and China but the co-worker from China didn't make the call. My co-worker later came online in China on instant messenger later and I pinged him about the call he missed. It turned out he was double booked for that timeslot. Heavy sigh. When are we going to solve time zone issues for calendars? I made sure he had the information for the web meeting in 9 hours.

This globalization thing isn't all its cracked up to be. Exactly when is it I am supposed to have some calm moments to think? When is it I am supposed to get more exercize like my doctor told me? Will the guy in California get up to make the web meeting at 6 am his time? Did I even have a right to call a web meeting that required someone to be there at 6 am? Will the guy in Beijing who has to join at 9 pm his time have a decent Internet connection? Did I have a choice on the time given that the guy we want to talk to was available then and it was a comfortable 9 am for him? Will my flight home on Friday be on time so I can make my daughter's piano recital? How early do I set my alarm clock for tomorrow? Early enough to hit the hotel treadmill or late enough to get another hour of sleep?

I have another trip to China coming up in two weeks. It is still fun for now. I can see how this could get old. I would love to hear how my readers in similar situations are handling the demanding hours, encroachment upon personal time, cultural differences, etc.

FYI, globalization has been a frequent topic of mine. You might take a look at some previous posts such as:

Copyright © 2007 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.

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