Some things might not be important
There are an awful lot of very big issues facing local government at the moment which have been blogged about by ourselves and by many others far smarter and more linked in than we are. There are also major issues facing individuals within services and teams which will affect their lives and future.
That being said, sometimes it’s the little things that count. Issues that perhaps might have been looked over in the past seem to be far more annoying now, and I find my degree of ire rising along with an emergence of a hitherto undiscovered rant gene within me.
So, in the form of a short list and in an effort to get them out of my system, here are five things that are annoying me at the moment. All are trivial, all are insignificant in the grand scheme of things; all are making me want to go a bit Samuel L Jackson and start smiting wantonly.
1. The stench of the gents.
There is no way any single human being could have produced the stench that envelopes the gents toilets on my floor. It is an acrid, cloying, ammonia-like smell which actually brings tears to the eyes. It has not always been this way, and makes me wonder whether the cuts have affected our cleaning budget adversely.
If so, I’m actually at the point where I’ll happily bring in the Cillet Bang and go to work with a scrubbing brush and hose, Big Society stylee. Actually, on reflection that’s a fairly typical day…
2. The hoarding of the stationery.
Recently I saw possibly my favourite FOI request ever. It was about pens, and showed the paltry amount spent on them by one Council. I’m sure that other stationery costs equally small amounts.
Why then is it harder to find a stapler or pair of scissors than it is to find a colleague without a set of knives ready to plunge into the backs of all others in their restructure? Have they started making biros from gold? Is tippex now a commodity? Were the ingredients of blue-tac changed to fairy tears and ground up unicorn horn? Stop hiding stationery in cupboards and making me fill in forms to get hold of a paper clip!
3. Milk theft
I cannot believe I am writing these words about my adult colleagues, but I am sick and tired of my milk being stolen. And yes, it is stolen; if you ask if you can have some then that’s fine as I’ll probably say yes; if you tell me and either chip in for it or let me use some of yours next time then that’s fine; if you use it without telling me on a regular basis it’s stealing.
I don’t want the fridge to look like a slightly healthier version of a University digs one, we are all grown-ups who earn a wage. It is beyond frustrating to go to make a cuppa having bought a new pint that morning, only to find that there is barely a drop left. Stop it!!!
4. Our lifts
They are getting worse. One of our original posts was about this problem, and not much has changed, besides the fact that now one of them has doors which randomly refuse to close and alarms which constantly go off. Others seem to have realised that they work for the Council and are therefore entitled to regular breaks every hour along with claiming a certain percentage of their working year off sick.
5. Social media
To those of you who follow our twitter feed (@WeLoveLocalGov by the way) this won’t surprise you, but we are great fans of social media. It is a fantastic way of linking people together, and can help spread news and ideas faster than an outbreak of Chlamydia on a university campus.
So if I hear one more person tell me that they don’t really think Council officers or councillors should be getting involved with it I think I’ll scream. It is the ultimate in retro ostriching – it’s a modern thing, so if we ignore it it’ll go away and no one will notice.
Social media, under whatever guise and on whatever platform comes along, is here to stay. People are using it to talk about the Council right now, and if we continue to ignore it these conversations aren’t going to get any better informed or more friendly. Yes, it’s not for everyone, but then again neither are cars, and they seem to have been taken to heart fairly well. The longer we leave it before treating online engagement with the same sense of earnestness as offline engagement, the more difficult it is going to be to catch up. And trust me, we are waaay behind the curve.