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A blog chronicling the up's and down's, trials and tribulations, fear and happiness of moving your life from the expected 9-to-5 job to a life of consulting. While it is a big and often scary decision, it is a time of discovery, rejuvenation and introspection that will help you remember who you are and who you were supposed to be. It's a wonderful journey.

Siri, what time is it in Dallas?  

Time zone chaos and rocky adjustments



Life Without Gravity

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It was 5 a.m. in California when I had my first phone meeting with a new client who lived in New England. It was 6 p.m. when I had my next one with a potential client in eastern Mexico. I haven’t had lunch in weeks because noon is the most popular time for me to have video conference calls- convenient for them and well, for me, I think I am losing a little weight. And then a client left me a voice mail from her vacation in Hawaii, and I had an anxiety attack. What the heck time is it in Maui?

I recognize that time zone chaos is part of a lot of people’s lives, not just consultants. But I never really thought about how it can create a 24-hour work day, depending on the geographic spread of your client base. At the moment I have no clients in Washington, Oregon or California – I really could use a little Pacific Time Zone kumbaya about now!

Texas is killing me. I have two clients in two different time zones. Who really knows the dividing line between Mountain and Central time? I keep messing up my meetings with Texans. I am going to get a reputation in the Longhorn state.

And then there is Arizona, or at least parts of it, that, like Hawaii, doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. That can really be annoying a couple of times a year.

Did you know that India and China are under a single time zone? Apparently train schedules and communism were the impetus. There are folks going to work hours before the sun rises just so there is alignment. I don’t know if it is a good idea, but it’s certainly a lot easier to navigate.

I remember a few years ago when there was an actual news story about New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith missing a meeting because he confused the east and west coast times. I laughed and thought, “good thing he can throw a ball.” I judged. I scoffed. And now I am Geno Smith. Sigh.

I once went to a concert where the lead singer at just the right moment yelled, “It’s great to be with you, Portland. We love this area and this great state of Oregon.” We were in Sacramento. Face plant. I once called Chicago thinking it was Mountain Time and totally missed a meeting. My version of the “what city am I in” rock star fail.

Of course, I have done what we all do when confronted with a problem too large to control. I downloaded an app. At the moment, World Clock is working well for me. We shall see if it stands up to the rigors of time changes as I navigate the universe in this new consulting gig.

The other day I heard that the International Space Station uses GMT (Greenwich Time Zone). I looked that one up on Google. My World Clock app didn’t respond to my inquiry about “International Space Station.” When I Googled, I oogled to also learn that NASA just sent a new modular home model up to the station for testing for future space residents. You never know, I may one day have a client there too!

I sent a note to World Clock suggesting they add the space station to their programming. Their response: “I am sorry, but we are closed. Please contact us during regular business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.” No time zone indicated. No really, they didn’t respond with that. I made that part up. Even if that did happen, and they gave me a time zone, I would have flubbed it up.

I fly out later this week for a residential consulting job in Texas. I will be sure to look up what part of Texas and in which time zone I will be in. That won’t actually help me much because I am time challenged. But, if you want to chat with me, next week may not be the best week. I suspect I will be in time zone chaos.