I have a one hour meeting starting at 10PM India time, which is 3 minutes from now. I’m writing because I am acutely aware of the tolls such meetings have on your private life. Since this meeting involves crucial conversations, I have been distracted since I got home at 7 today. I had dinner and played chess with my son but I was irritable and really not there. My mind kept wavering to what I have to say and how it will be interpreted at 10. I have also been up since 5AM this morning helping the wife with kids and breakfast since my daughter had to leave early for school today.
This is the part I hate about working at a US based multinational software company. You can’t really be at home even when you are at home… especially if you care about the outcomes of these meetings. It is hard to have the mental discipline to be keep anxiety away and truly be at home when you are at home.
Additionally, I have an 8AM meeting as well where I need to refute/question the results from a user study. This is not ideal as you stretch on both sides of the day.
One of the biggest issues in working out of India for a US based company is late night and early morning meetings. Really … India is as far as you can travel from the US without traveling back.
So either you are up early or you are working through your evening 8:30PM-11:30PM trying to sort through issues with the US counterparts. These meetings are essential for the project and for your professional growth. As a Product Manager, you should be seen as the face of the product and hence you need be make yourself available for all roadmap review meetings etc with the business unit heads as needed.
In my many years of working with the US company, I’ve been able to manage my work life balance by using the following guiding principles:
- Give up one night a week for meetings instead of short spans of time on every other night
- Consolidate meetings back to back on this night
- Don’t be shy to ask the US team for an evening meeting
- Skew evening meetings based on where most attendees are so that you can maximise attendance
- Say no to any unnecessary or agenda less meetings
Its a well known fact that issue resolution and relationship building is faster over the phone, in person that over email. Changes are high that if you stick to working via email you will not receive information via informal channels in the organisation. These channels are always faster than the formal ones.