Could You All Just Stop?

My day started with one of my branch managers phoning me while they were having a panic attack on top of what turned out to be an acute asthma attack. They were worried that they might have to close their library as they were working on their own. There’s a lot to unpick there, and once I’d talked them through getting their breathing a bit less on the edge of collapse I wasted no time in telling them that I couldn’t care less about closing the library – their health is far more important. This is an individual who is new in their job and feels they have a lot to prove, despite my telling them many times over that they are doing a great job and literally have nothing to prove and they need to slow down.

Grumpy? Me?

While still reeling that in I got a call about another member of staff wrenching their back while reaching for christmas decorations in a cupboard, had an update on another person about to undergo surgery, and had calls from the cub’s school that he wasn’t well and could someone come and retrieve him. I may have growled about that as he’d pranked me this morning by walking out of his room with red vaseline around his mouth so that it looked like he had foot and mouth but was thankfully at that time okay. Lady M meanwhile had called in sick with a heavy cold, and while down in Portsmouth boy s had also succumbed to the same cold.

It turned out that the cub has, you guessed it, got the same heavy cold as Lady M and boy s – so I’m chalking it up to Con Flu from the weekend. Lateral Flow Tests have remained negative.

Me? I haven’t got time to be ill. I had school runs, building health and safety inspections, job shortlisting, event risk assessments, and partnership meetings to sort out – and retrieving boy s from Portsmouth after hours. Tomorrow I have more of the same, so I’ve quarantined everyone else in the flat in the other rooms and laid claim to the sofa. If I get this in the same week that I’ve had my blood pressure medications increased, I won’t be happy.

So, could you all just stop falling apart please? I haven’t finished my turn yet.

Covid Life

Well the little plague goblin’s PCR came back as positive but as the rest of us are double jabbed we don’t have to isolate – just him. We’re going to organise PCR tests anyway just to double check even though our lateral flow tests remain negative.

That would be enough on its own but this week seems determined to throw obstacle after obstacle in the way, which is probably why I’m currently sat in a closed library waiting for a BT engineer to remote fix an issue that has in traditional fashion been bounced between several different services to try and fix – and that it feels like the least stressful part of my week to date.

Mostly I’m just reminding myself that I need to keep time and energy for myself so that I can support colleagues and family and friends. Its a very familiar refrain and so if sitting on my own in an empty building forces me to do so then I’ll accept the unexpected respite time with as much good grace as I can muster.

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

Remembering to be ill

I’m forcing myself to take the day off and just be unwell. My brain is screaming at me to go to work but I can’t fix anything else while I’m still breathless and in pain.

Besides, the partners have very gently frowned every time I’ve talked of work today and even at my most oblivious I have occasional moments of clarity.

I’m exhausted, everything aches, I’m now chasing my GP for an appointment

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.

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.