What a few months I have had! I joined an NHS PCT (Primary Care Trust) in August to help with a systems roll out, but very soon realised that I had joined a project from hell. Let me qualify – the project was valid, my colleagues on the project team are able, competent and fantastic to work with, the end users I was dealing with were brilliant, but the project manager … well, that was a different story.

When I was employed, I remember thinking, “Fantastic, project in the NHS, but run by a commercially driven contractor”. I thought this would was the secret to its success. She talked the talk and outerly looked confident and able. About 6 weeks into the project, we realised that all was not as it should be. But nothing prepared me for the next 6 weeks! Things went downhill fast. I was uncomfortable with every element of the project, but on top of that she launched a personal attack on me, which made life at work almost unbearable. In spite of me being a contractor and having the ability to merely walk out and tell her to stick her job “where the sun doesn’t shine”, I realised that getting a contract again so close to the end of the year (when a we have a long holiday planned back to South Africa) was going to prove very difficult. I decided to stick it out. But each day got more and more difficult. Eventually after an incident on the 31st October, I gave notice – I would finish up at the end of November. But the decision tore me in two. I loved working with and within the the team, I liked what I was doing, I just didn’t like how we did things or how I was being treated.

Life just continued (difficultly) on the project after that. The project was still tearing down towards the edge of a cliff, and I was on board. Each day was count-down to the end of the month.

…. BUT …. today that all changed. We were informed at lunch time that the project manager’s contract had been terminated with immediate effect. What a turnaround!! I asked whether I could retract my notice, and was welcomed back on board immediately. And how amazing to see the team working together in a completely different way this afternoon. We have been planning how to safely brake this roaring train heading for the cliff and by the end of next week we should have a much better idea of how we believe the project should be taken forward. Everyone had a spring in their step and a sparkle in their eye. And I was grinning like a cheshire cat.

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So, what did I learn from the experience? Probably to trust your instincts!
Only problem is, in spite of being exhausted and not having a good night’s sleep in weeks, I cannot sleep. Hence the reason why I am sitting here at 2:45 in the morning doing my blog! My head is so “wired” and the thoughts are just racing through. Ordinarily I would just write everything down, but there is so much, it would take me more than a night to do. So I am just hoping my body is going to recover before the end of the weekend and allow me the rest time I need.