Poor old Sisyphus He was the bloke who upset the Greek Gods and as punishment was forced to push a rock up a hill but it always ended up rolling back down again. So to be free he had to get the rock up to the mountain top, because he could not he was condemned to eternal hard labour.
Luckily for us in construction, we do eventually get the rock to the summit, we call it practical completion. I reckon that is the easy part. Getting the rock to move in the first place needs a client to sign a contract, the next challenge is to find the resources at the right price to start pushing the rock. Once the team build up momentum the summit is reached and more often in the nick of time to avoid penalties or as our friendly contract bots refer to as “liquidated damages”
But sometimes the rock gets stuck, a delay in contract signing, a client runs out of money, the builder goes broke, act of God. At any of these events there is fallout and decisions are made: we go legal against the client; we are all looking for another job; or we scratch our heads and say in unison “where do we go from here?”. Then there is the blame game, whose head is on the block? head office gets the jitters and the project team start worrying about their mortgage payments.
However, the canny survivor often sees the writing on the wall and gets out before they are pushed. All too often the wrong people get sacked first. Not the numb skull who got the job into the diabolical mess but the person doing their best to deliver the project.
Sometimes Sisyphus it is better to let the rock roll and find another mountain.
by Gerry Keating
PS One of my heroes, yes I can be a bit strange, is Albert Camus, the French existentialist writer. Check out his take on this subject