Partner stopped by my office to ask about last night's conference call. I tell him it ended around midnight.
He asks about next steps and I tell him we have another conference call scheduled for tonight, and another one for the next day, and that it's a ridiculous timeline but we are pushing toward getting everything done on Friday.
He says, "But you shouldn't be here until midnight every night."
I reply, "I don't want to be here until midnight every night, and I don't think this deadline is reasonable. But I'm not sure what to do about it, since this is a global negotiation and I don't really have any say in the deadline."
He says, "Well, I appreciate it."
Which is nice. I'm not being sarcastic. It's nice that people here say thank you when they see you working hard. It's nice, and it makes me feel better, but it doesn't solve the problem.
This particular partner often checks in and always asks whether I have time before assigning me work. That helps, and I appreciate it. But our clients aren't looking out for me like that, and this job is driven by client demands. Sometimes I can and do push back, but sometimes I can't. When I have a huge multinational client that has made a decision after coordinating with their various offices, am I going to tell them, no, I have to put my kid to bed? That is just not acceptable in my job. So I keep coming to the conclusion that the only thing that will help is being in a setting where nobody expects me to work until midnight every night.
A recruiter emailed me during hour 3 of last night's call about an in-house job. I had to laugh at her perfect timing.