A standard lament and source of dark humor in the proposal profession is the lack of work/life balance. Too many proposal professionals work very long hours, nights, and weekends. This may be unavoidable in new companies or ones with small staffs, but it should not be the norm.
According to Bob Lohfeld, the founder and president of the Lohfeld Consulting Group, Inc., effective proposal development should seek to balance work and life. He recommends that companies follow these principles in proposal development:
- Your value to the company should not be based on how many hours a week you can work or your willingness to give up nights, weekends, holidays, and vacations to work on a proposal.
- Proposal development should focus on sound management processes and good resource planning, not putting in huge amounts of uncompensated overtime.
- Proposal Managers should be reasonable and flexible with their proposal team members.
- Proposal managers should remember that team members have families, children, and outside activities.
- Proposal managers also should take into consideration the consultants, desktop publishers, and the production team in their work scheduling.
In today’s terrible economy, proposal professionals may not have the luxury of choosing how many hours a week they should work. But if you have a choice, you should not willingly work for a company that does not strike a reasonable work/life balance and that expects you to contribute plenty of uncompensated overtime. This is unfair and exploitative, and working too many long days will make you unhealthy and unhappy.
Good proposal managers should strive to achieve a healthy, reasonable work/life balance and help their proposal team members do the same. Life is too important to devote your days, nights, and weekends just to proposal development. No one on their deathbed has ever said that they wished to have spent more hours in the office.