It’s always nice to get away from the daily details of work and do some more strategic planning and preparation. There’s a lot of day to day detail that my team have taken on and excelled at under difficult conditions.
Today that freed me to meet with colleagues from other organisations and to praise everyone’s hard work to senior management.
In only a few short months since the restructure we’ve managed to deliver events and innovative partnership pilots in ways that have drawn praise and notice. That was how I ended up brought in to start discussions on how we can deliver against strategic targets and develop best practice and mentorship on how we’ve been operating.
Fair to say I’m a bit fired up from the day. I may have got on my soapbox a couple of times.
I’ve just finished the second of two days hosting the amazing Mobile Anarchist Librarian show which is touring with us this month. Created by Tessa Bide Productions the show encourages young guests to join in a theatrical exploration of stories and encourages them to take an active part in choosing how those stories develop and end up.
We’ve had two days filled with joy and imagination and the sound of families having fun – and it has made all the difference in raising the mood of everyone. The actors and crew worked incredibly hard in collaboration with staff at the sites on each day and I’m so pleased and proud of them all.
They’ve been long days, but a great example of working with partners. I even got adopted and given a badge of my own.
Nice weather on a Friday? Oh good, that made for a nice lunchbreak, and then as good an excuse as any to go check in on one if the other sites that was having a few problems with their heating.
All’s well that ends the second week of the new job. There’s been more of a sense of moving with purpose and a team starting to cohere – with only the usual number of roadbumps along the way.
I also had a chance to check in on how my parents are doing by way of a conveniently timed phonecall – even with Tuesday’s news they’re in good spirits, and I was able to cheer my mum up with some anecdotes about current challenges. That was a nice interlude.
And now to the weekend. I’m on call so can’t do anything particularly outrageous tomorrow, but at least I can enjoy the sun on my balcony.
I had a moment this afternoon of sudden clarity and managed to get some things sorted out that will help make life at work a bit more streamlined for people. Suddenly I was doing something proactive rather than reactive and it was a lovely moment of feeling that I might be getting a handle on things after all.
To be fair, it has been an odd day, with reports of broken keysafes, vomiting children, and rogue pigeons in library spaces today. Fortunately these have all been in different libraries, but as I’ve the brief for all of them they all got funnelled my way. My staff dealt with each issue with aplomb and humour and I’m very lucky to have such versatile talents working for me.
I guess this counts as a moment of job satisfaction? Off in search of the next challenge…
I dove back into working today to get my brain focused on anything other than spinning in circles – though it was mostly meetings and training sessions. That said it did allow me to get all my branch managers together in one place for the first time and congratulate them on surviving their first week.
There’s a lot of changes happening very quickly, and a lot of juggling of priorities, and they’re rising to the challenges with aplomb and no more quiet cursing than you might hope for – especially the ones who haven’t been a manager before. They’re a good bunch.
This evening Lady M had a migraine, so I’ve mostly unwound by playing Destiny2 and trying some different loadouts and activities in the game. Not a bad end to the day.
My number one response to people asking how the new job is going is to tell them that I’m tired, and that I currently have great difficulty tracking which day it is. This is largely because I haven’t worked regularly either on a Monday or indeed in a full time job for quite some time.
So, here I am with my body thinking its Friday night on a Thursday but with a reasonable sense of achievement. Nothing has gone horribly wrong, or at least nothing has gone awry that we haven’t been able to fix – the libraries are still open, and we’re gearing up for a Summer of interesting family activities.
There are always grumbles and hiccups, and I may have got a bit stressed from time to time at the beginning of the week, but so far so good. I’ve only had to call HR for advice once, on my peers for reality checks every other day, and the managers working for me are getting used to my calls and Teams messages with general aplomb.
I’ve got a training conference tomorrow. It’ll get me out of the office and I’m looking forward to escaping the timesheets for a few hours.
The universe plainly decided that I needed another last Saturday at the pit face, and so people went sick or on holiday and I stepped into the breach.
By now there’s no doubt I’m in the new role properly – I was in conversation via Teams with other senior managers about a number of issues, and my branch managers were keeping me copied in as they resolved or headed off issues.
And at the same time, as we closed up the small library this evening, I’d be lying if there wasn’t a small pang as I took some pictures to remind me:
Next week… well I already know the main challenges lined up. We’ll see what happens.
I’m not going to do a series of “this is my last…” for the days of the week – it gets repetitive quickly. It is still dawning on me though that I’m basically now doing the new job and the handover is accelerating.
This is both wonderful and frustrating as there’s still that need to help people in between the rotas and negotiations and they’re all important things to be doing – and I’m now deep in the planning of my movements next week around various libraries to welcome not one but two brand new managers to their roles.
In more mundane news, I have a new xbox controller. It arrived yesterday, just in time for some football match that got Lady M and a number of people on the estate rather excited. I didn’t choose the colours with any more thought than “that’s nice” but it was a nice coincidence to have a win happen.
I’m not saying that there’s a certain degree of whimsicality to this week as we count down to the new regime, but I did manifest a new character while closing the parking bay gates this evening. Gentlefolk, I introduce The Grim Reader…
Yes, I know, i need to get out more… I probably shouldn’t be drawing all over the disposable masks either.
Still, as another weird transition day it seemed fitting, as I’m now doing more in preparation for next week rather than day to day front of house stuff, and getting my team up to speed. There’s a lot to do still, but for the first time it’s starting to feel like we’ve at least got a handle on the beginning of next week.