February is LGBT+ History Month, so I’ve spent a portion of today decorating a library’s windows with flags and logos. As we’re largely closed to the public we can’t do our usual approach of book displays and historical posters, so I’ve improvised.
There are some nice packs of flags and bunting available on Amazon for reasonable prices so I grabbed one to provide the base elements for display.
The subject theme for this year is Mind, Body, and Spirit – a focus on mental health and support – so a raid on the shelves is imminent to build it properly.
I know we got told a couple of weeks ago, but it was nice to get a letter sent around in the mail today to confirm it.
The first I knew about it was a call from one of my colleagues who was very excited – mainly for the same reasons that I was when I first heard about it: that there was recognition of the value of the work we do for and in the community.
We don’t get excited by too much – we just get on with it – but there was a real spark of joy in my colleague’s voice and a sense of rekindled morale that was lovely to hear.
I’ve been having the occasional comment wend it’s way to me about how positive I’m being at work, how untroubled by all the stresses around us.
Truth be told its mostly because being cheery and positive is less exhausting than brooding on everything. Yes, there’s a small amount of denial, but I choose to interpret that as actively picking my battles.
A few days ago, myr s confessed they weren’t happy that I had to go in to work and risk infection. My only answer is that I feel safe enough in my work environment, especially with the barriers, cleaning, masks, and distance enforced while there. If anything it feels safer than going to the shops, and that’s in no small part due to control of my environment that I can exercise while at work.
Semi-related to the above is the descriptive fragment that bounced around my imagination this morning: “he was so optimistic that he expected anyone coming from Woking to be woke”
The week is rushing ahead, even if my knees are creaking, but at least it’s nearly payday. This week we’ve mostly been trying to support staff in writing their supporting statements ahead of the restructure.
What has been an unexpected pleasure in what is an onerous task has been the morale boosts. People are being reminded of just how much experience and how wide a skill set they have. Watching those realisations dawn on people’s faces has been a delight.
For many of the older staff this is the first supporting statement for a job re-application that they’ve had to do in decades, so there’s a lot of concern. Going through this process has calmed a lot of fears, so that’s a good thing for all concerned.
A year ago I was reading reports of some new virus that was starting to spread, and felt that we’d probably be okay if we were sensible. I never dreamed that a year on I’d be wearing a mask nearly all day as a key worker, and as of this morning breaking the news to staff that another colleague had lost a close relative to covid.
Sometimes I’m numb to it, sometimes I’m angry. I’m grabbing humour where I can find it. Sometimes I wish I could work from home, but most of the time I’m glad I can get out of the house. I remind myself I’m very privileged, even as I want to curl up and hide under the blankets.
But hey, someone yesterday asked to buy the original of one of my sketches, so that’s a nice thing.
I left my phone at home today – not for any great reason, but just because I was in a hurry. As is usual in such cases, I only realised when I got to work, so just shrugged and got on with it.
It did mean that my peers had to use the branch landlines to get in touch with me through the day – and in the process I think it all underlined how much of our job is based on communication and consensus.
I did manage to get some work done for wider projects currently underway, as well as prepare a bit for the reapplication my job that an upcoming restructure is promising, so it was a productive day – but I did feel a little lost without being able to quickly check mail and news at a moment’s notice.
I know that there isn’t some magical tickertape explosion due to wipe the woes of 2020 away at the end of the week, but I am looking forward to symbolically saying goodbye to this year. If nothing else there’s a mental shrug to be done, like splitting a big job into smaller slices, with stepping into 2021.
I’m back at work for a few days, providing a click and collect service, so at least I can feel I’m making a positive difference in the lockdown. The biggest difficulty is retraining my brain to wake at a reasonable hour, so I’m setting lots of alarms tonight.
We realised that myself and the other managers haven’t really had much opportunity to meet and catch up with everything going on this year, so yesterday we arranged to meet in a library that was closed to the public.
It was equal parts socialising with peers and brainstorming how to move the service forward out of lockdown. As we won’t know until later today what tiers we’ll be placed in it had to be largely contingency planning in very broad strokes.
And then we put on Christmas jumpers and recorded songs for the library YouTube channel. There was a lot of silliness, flubbed lines, and shuffling to maintain social distancing but it was worth it. We now await judgement as to whether we’ve made the grade, quality wise, and I’ll post links if they become available.
It has started well, with yesterday being a fairly productive day off, but this morning I was due to be working a late shift. The universe, however, had other ideas so I’m manning the barricades elsewhere on different hours.
Tomorrow, I’m due to be having a managers’ team day – and have had a last minute request for Christmas jumpers and or hats so we can film something. One colleague has already reached out to see if I have any spare hats or jumpers.