Spinning Wheels

Like an overrevved car with smoking wheels, the week has managed that age old trick of standing still and generating a lot of noise and motion – but somehow still isn’t over. I actually had that moment of being genuinely shocked this afternoon that it was only Thursday.

Between running round helping boy s gather things for his new flat, various illnesses, and general stresses with work deadlines it has been packed. I’ve had conversations around outreach opportunities with partner organisations ; talked about potential Arts Council funded events for the future; focused on further recruitment; and generally steered and pushed things as only a library manager can.

There’s a lot there, but as a lot of it is kind of setting things up rather than necessarily delivering discrete results, I think it hasn’t felt as productive as it has. I suppose it could be worse, but it has felt at times like an extended anxiety rush with added heartburn. But hey, there’s still Friday to look forward to.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Back to Work

Ah Monday, and the inevitable panic after nearly two weeks of remembering passwords and hoping they haven’t expired. I did, and they hadn’t, so that was nice.

The first words one of my managers (and by this I mean managers working for me) said to me was: “have you lost weight?” – given the amount of time exploding from one end or the other I’d be very surprised if I hadn’t lost a few pounds. Always nice to see the sunny side of these things.

The theme of new tech continued too, with a new work phone – so in between emails and phonecalls I’ve begun the solemn duty of subverting the kit to my requirements. Should keep me busy in downtime for a bit.

I’ve also been digitally painting again, taking advantage of the touchscreen and tablet mode offered by my new laptop – I have no idea what it is, but I’m rather pleased with how it’s going

I think it needs more eyes

All’s Well…

We carried on with interviews today and it’s been wonderful to be able to offer posts to two people at the end of it all. It was a nice contrast to some more serious and unpleasant things I had to attend to as well today.

Generally through the household it’s been a complex day hit by tech issues, weather, and unforgettable cherubs banned and/or carted off by security.

A long day, but we have the windows cracked to hear the rain outside, and I’m only mildly wondering how many reports of leaky roofs I’m going to hear in the morning…

Interviewing Again?

In a dance that is now very familiar I’m mostly interviewing for posts replacing some people who left last month. Employment churn is always a little higher than usual after a restructure, largely because people who are nearer retirement often see it as the final push as they see everything changing, or when their own circumstances have changed.

Today we had six people through the doors, and I have another four to see tomorrow so we’ve broken the back of it and it shouldn’t take too long to finalise our decisions. In theory that can then clear the decks so i can focus on the next three.

Why not do all five at once? Well mostly so that I can focus the interviews by location and make sure that the branch manager is actively involved in the process of building their new team. It’s especially important as so many of my team of managers are themselves pretty new in post and I want to use these interviews as a training exercise as well so that they have the confidence to lead next time.

We’ve had two people withdraw from tomorrow’s list, so at least that frees up the morning a bit so I can keep on top of the many other bits and pieces spinning at the moment.

Never a dull moment

The Good, The Bad…

Another busy couple of days, largely based around personnel and hiring issues and processes, and it does feel like progress of sorts. The boy s has started his new job too and is, predictably, exhausted from the step change in physical activity that comes with it.

What seems to have been a consistent element in our collective week has been conversations around pronouns in and around our respective work places. Both myself and Lady M are among those championing the wider placement of pronouns in online and physical spaces.

Explaining why I wear a pronouns badge and put them in my email signature and Teams profile is another aspect of my drive to be visible and normalising their use, as well as a statement in support for those who may not feel safe or able to express their real selves at this time.

The real delight this week has been hearing how boy s’ new workplace has so actively championed this since reopening post-covid and the supportive and open feel that his workplace has as a result. This has proved especially important in the face of aggressive and malicious misgendering that he has faced from members of the public and that has been both draining and dispiriting for him.

This maliciousness is something I’ve experienced for myself in response to pronoun use, but as I’m cis I can’t even begin to feel the depths of how nasty and abusive this is for trans people. Seeing and hearing the hurt and exhaustion experienced by boy s is very difficult, makes me angry, and makes me more determined than ever to support friends, partners, and anyone else that needs it.

A Moment of Lightness

With new staff starting this week, some dynamics have of course shifted a little, and I was pleasantly surprised at lunchtime to hear something from the staffroom that I’ve not heard in a while: happy people. There was laughter, even.

It took me a moment even to place it, what with the blur of change and stress that covid and restructures and new systems have put on people. But there it was: a lightness of tone in people’s voices, laughter, and a general relaxation even if just in that moment.

Here’s to more to come.

More Markets

I’m pretty sure I mentioned a while back that I’d been notified that Amazon were about to start widening my access to various markets with a program of translation into various languages in an automated process.

Well, that process is now underway, and my Ludd Clothing items are now available in not only the UK and US versions of Amazon but also the French, German, and Japanese markets as well. Looking at my visitor statistics I can see regular visitors from each of those areas, so if you’re interested please take a look and I’ll endeavour to put direct links up for each of the .de .fr .jp and .com versions in addition to the .co.uk version above.

So, that’s a thing that’s happening.

The boy’s Doing Well

My work continues to be an adventure, full of ups and downs, but today was all about boy s and his search for employment. The first good omen was his replacement bank cards arriving with the right name and our address on the paperwork.

The second good thing was all the traffic lights cooperating on the way to the interview as I drove him there.

And successful he was. Its a seasonal job with Thorpe Park, so won’t be long term, but it’s a huge boost for his morale to get something so quickly after moving up here.

We had to celebrate of course, so after a quick rampage through the local shops to sort out new trousers and shoes, we went out for a meal and have let the tension wash away in food and drink.

Now if we can just get the cub sorted at a new school…

Back In The Thick of It

Today has felt like a day of firefighting, but I’m not entirely sure why. I think with an extended network outage at one site, and a need to do some frontline support while juggling deadlines it has all felt a bit more fraught than usual.

It hasn’t been helped by staff being a bit snappy under stress, which no matter how adult about everything I remain, still feels personal.

A late evening working meant a much needed gin when I got in, along with hugs from Lady M, boy s, and the goblin. There’s some advantage to coming home to the assembled crowd.

Well, That Was Amazing

Somehow we managed to get not only the polycule but some friends and acquaintances all together at Pride In Surrey in Godalming yesterday. What a day!

I made sure to find appropriate flags, a Pride gamers tshirt, and went to town on the beard with coloured hairspray to match the bi-flag. I got a lot of compliments, and I thanked my stars for the experience of creating my Obadiah Stane cosplay and the beard dyeing required for that.

We had to get there early as I was in the Parade, so we split and arranged a meetup point for later. I eventually found the way to the assembly area, chatting with various random people along the way. It wasn’t the most precise staging and organisation in the world but it felt appropriately anarchic for Pride’s origins – and soon enough we were winding our way up along Godalming’s High Street

It was my first Parade, and it felt good to be in good company and an atmosphere mixing joy, protest, and representation. Surrounded by work colleagues, associated organisations, and family groups, we brought colour and noise and cheering to a normally very sleepy small Surrey town.

What was heartwarming was the support along the high street from families and businesses alike. People of all ages and backgrounds wanting to see what was going on, and cheering along. It was all a very strange, as in unfamiliar, experience – and one that I want to be part of again – with extra performance next time.

Even slightly grey and misty weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood, and in the polycule we spent a good few hours taking turns to venture out in small groups from our blankets and bags base to explore and meet people.

We may have bought more gin.

What was also wonderful was that there was a quiet section set away for young families which included stalls for support services and advice on health. The library was well represented, as were a number of other areas of both the County and Local Government organisations, staffed by volunteers.

I’d love to see more participation by other areas and teams, so I plan to advocate for that for next time – even off duty my brain keeps looking for improvements.

Long day short, a great day, especially coming out the other side of lockdown and pandemic, and especially with so many other Pride events cancelled. As I said to one of our Councillors: its a good start.