Three times a year, the crushing weight of deadlines imposes itself upon my office, generally rolling over everything in its path and turning our best efforts into mush. Three times a year, we enter "business hell", which happens to be our affectionate name for the weeks upon weeks of insane pressure, endless coding and unpaid overtime.
December is the most obvious of those times, and for good reason. At the end of each year, everyone's expected to produce their strategies and offerings for the next 365 days. Because I happen to work as a manager in a web development firm, this usually means that I end up minding not only our own end-of-year concerns, but our clients' as well.
I've actually got a strange brew of projects on my desk at the moment: There's an electronics manufacturer there as well as a royalty-sourced insurance company, a religious sect, an oil and gas magnate, two grassroots software firms and even the odd French businessman. All of them have one thing in common, and it's the fact that they're all breathing down my neck.
I suppose that, in exchange for this kind of pressure, our employers usually ply us with the usual Christmas "gifts": assorted giveaways, a fat salary bonus, and an end-of-year party that everybody attends for fear of offending their respective bosses. My company usually stuffs us with the first two items sometime in the tail end of November; I suspect that it's so that we can't complain about the extra workload next month.
Personally, I just want some extra sleep. This is probably one of the few times of the year where I won't complain about the occasional holiday.
By some strange combination of factors, I find myself almost fully booked for the next month. I'm helping to run a bazaar* this weekend, I'm dropping by a book launch next Saturday, and in the intervening days I'll be expected to greet, converse with, and kowtow to a number of visiting relatives. That's the holiday season for you, I think.
It almost makes you want to strip down to your underwear and run screaming through the streets.
I'm not going to do it, mind you, but you're perfectly welcome to do so.
Hey, it's not as though I'm the only person who's trudging through the swamp of holidays. I figure that you're probably going through the same thing, and it does my heart glad to know that we're all in this together.
Er... we are, right?
Ah, fine. You're all lazy bums, anyway.
See if I care when you find yourself sitting in a tub of jello and gift-wrapping paper, holding a rubber gun to the head of a plastic Santa toy and screaming "Don't eat the gingerbread! Don't eat the gingerbread!"
Then again, if that ever happens, I'll probably be there holding the camera.
Where was I again?
* That's the Xavier School Wish Bazaar, taking place at Xavier School in San Juan, Metro Manila on December 3 and 4, 2005. Do drop by -- there's going to be an Adidas warehouse sale (minus the warehouse, of course), a peewee basketball game (you ain't seen nothing till you've seen a bunch of three-year-olds mount a decent offense), and some weird oik sitting at the gaming tables (the only man in the world who loses badly at Pokémon -- that's me). Just remember not to feed the animals (me again), and you'll be fine.