Working Mother

Today is a big day in my work life as I am having the first meeting with a new client. I won a 3 year contract back in April and today is the day that we finally kick the project off. Mum knew that I was bidding for the job, had been shortlisted and I was able to give her the news that I had been successful, while she was in hospital and she had been delighted for me and she had told me that she was proud of my success.  This was the presentation when I had described our company as Wonder Woman when I was asked which super hero we were. I was relieved that they took their time during May and early June to sort out the contract, as I knew that I would want a project to throw myself into after Mum’s funeral, so the timing has been just right from my personal perspective.

They saw professional, ‘best behaviour’ me when I presented to them months ago and all our dealings so far have been pretty formal, via a procurement portal. While of course I will remain professional this afternoon, my dilemma is how much of my real personality and priorities do I reveal on our first meeting? I am already taking them cake, so they will know that I am a baker today. I had mentioned my baking at the end of the presentation but I had not taken any with me as I did not want it to be construed as a bribe! They had joked that my  homemade shortbread might have clinched the contract.

I have a number of special clients who have become friends over the years of working together, there are two that I email who have left their business, but have kept in touch – they follow my blog, we exchange Christmas cards and we meet up when we can. They know all about our ups and downs with Joshua and they have sent sympathy cards and even a hydrangea plant, when Mum died. But I worked with these two ladies for several years before we exchanged news about our private lives and it was an exchange, I learned about their families at the same time that they heard about Joshua. Our meetings, when they were still clients, were always prefaced by a half hour or so, catch up on home news.

I wonder how long it will be before I share about Joshua with this new client? He is not generally in my opening statement, but sooner or later he tends to crop up in my conversations. New clients need to understand that he will always be my number one priority, so I may have to occasionally cancel meetings if he is unwell or I may become temporarily unavailable should he undergo a hospital stay for instance, but I will keep them informed and I will have a deputy at work too, to replace me if necessary. On one project last October, I had to leave a job early because Joshua was taken into hospital by ambulance after seizures and that German client did not hesitate to allow me to leave in a hurry once I received that frightening phone call, they could not have been kinder.

Joshua has been a non-negotiable factor in my working life for the last 18 years and my clients accept that, so I am lucky in that regard, as my priorities will never change.

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