Sunday, November 28, 2004

Is it more difficult to start or finish things?

I procrastinate about finishing things. There is something about closure that shuts out all final chances of achieving perfection. And I am a perfectionist. Make that a frustrated perfectionist.

I love starting things. There is the promise of a new opportunity to achieve the perfect result. There is the blind trust that those I work with on the opportunity will pull in the same direction, hold the same ideals.

It drives me mad. I am "big picture" but can audit the fine details if required. I just hate doing it.

This time of year is about closure. Closing off projects, finishing my staff's performance reviews, undertaking the pain of self examination - how have I done?

Now this is probably a "glass half-full / half-empty" thing. There are those who love ticking off the tasks, acheiving closure, nailing the last nail in the coffin of the past.

And no doubt there are people who do both. Damn them.

My year has been made all the more complicated by my decision to quit my job and move on, and finally renovating my house. I am not indecisive - I usually know what has to be done and merely debate the timing of doing it.

Renovating meant committing to the final shape of my house. Surprisingly (considering what I have said above) this was not the issue. Taking on the strain of employing and managing a builder has scared me for longer than I care to remember. It is impossible to deal with a building nightmare when you work more than 12 hours a day. However, the project has been successfully navigated and the builder and I agreed the final to-do list today. One potentially major issue with a swing door, but we'll see how that works out.

Quitting my job has been far more difficult. I am told by those in industry that when I leave the firm will be regarded as dead. It is always dangerous to believe your positive press, but I am distinctly bothered by leaving those who I have hired and led. Many of my team have confided in me that they worry about their own futures if I leave. But, as I was once coached, you can only deal with your own shit and not others'. So I have overcome the guilt relating to my decision to leave. But the closure is the painful part. It is tough when you have given your all and while the results are good, they are not perfect. We are not yet number one in our industry and the firm is not yet in the shape I would like it. But after seven and a bit years, it is time to ask whether I will achieve the final yards to those goals. Sadly not, for reasons beyond my control. So ultimately I console myself with this - "beyond my control." Arrgh! I hate that: "beyond my control" because I don't believe it. At the center of my belief system is the part that says we are all accountable, ultimately in control of our destiny. So what ultimately clinched it? Starting somewhere else makes more sense: trying to do what I want to do here is only good for nostalgia.

Sound tortured? Yeah. Anyway, finishing allows beginning, the part I enjoy. For the new year I must consider whether to remain in South Africa in a different role with different people, or whether to move to Boston, New York, London or Singapore for a 2 or 3 year stint. That's exciting.

But to other beginnings: there is my Keira-lookalike thing (see below). If that shows signs of working out, I may be in limbo for a while as I give it a chance.

In the meantime on to the holidays where I'll enjoy my new home for a week or so, then head to Cape Town for a month of doing nothing (except seeing Keira-girl) before planning the exact timing of my career move. Two more weeks of hell at work (AAArrgh! The to-do list!).

No comments: