It’s nice to be reminded sometimes
As regular readers will know, this blog is written by a number of people. Recently one of the regular contibutors, my good old anonymous self, haven’t been contributing anything to these fine pages, leaving things in the excellent and safe hands of others (heartfelt thanks go out to all of you by the way!).
The reason for this hiatus was unfortunately not a good one. My wife and I suffered a sudden and unexpected personal tragedy. I shant go into too many details, suffice to say that it was something that knocked us for six and took over everything for a while.
Now, I can hear you asking yourself what on earth has this to do with local government? Surely whatever happened wasn’t the fault of Eric Pickles, or suffered from an overabundance of form filling? Well, you’re right of course – even I couldn’t blame E-Pic for this one.
The reason I wanted to share this with you all was the way the situation was treated by my colleagues and workplace. The office has been a bit of a dark place recently, with restructures, interviews and redundancies flying around like Piers Morgan on a broomstick. It’s felt at times that the only way to be certain of a job at the end of things would be simply to be the last one standing, with any sign of weakness punced upon and used against you at a later date.
When I called in to the office therefore I expected to be subtly made to feel a bit bad about telling them that I would not be around for a while, that my family needed me more and that they would always come first. I expected to have to spend time going through my workload to distribute it amongst my team and to tell people specifically who to speak to about what and when. I expected then to field random calls and be asked to respond to urgent e-mails as they came up, all on the understanding that I acknowledged the burden I was placing on others and the strain it put them under.
I couldn’t have been more wrong if I’d walked into the Royal Wedding dressed as Colonel Gaddaffi.
I was told in no uncertain terms that I was to drop everything to do with work, that it would all be picked up and arranged, and that I should take as much time as was needed to deal with what had happened. All that was asked of me was to let them know when I felt able to come back to work.
I can’t begin to tell you how much of a weight off of my shoulders this was: simply knowing that the people who needed to know about things understood my situation, and that they were willing to offer the support needed meant I really could forget about the job and concentrate on the things that matter most to me. Even those I don’t properly work with, the other writers of this blog, simply told me to get my priorities straight and leave the article writing alone until it all was finished with.
I guess my point is, whatever work-place worries and stresses that we place ourselves under and expect others to be going through, sometimes it’s worth remembering that whatever your team, grade or job title we are all people who care about others. Yes, sometimes we can all be professionally obstinante or arguementative, or we can demand more and more whilst providing less and less, but when the proverbial excrement hits the fan people revert back to being just that: people.
Knowing that I am being supported to get through things is making the whole process an awful lot easier and encouraging me to repay the effort and support that has been given to me. I’m finding myself going the extra mile whenever I can to show how grateful I am, and doing so with a warmth in my heart I’ve not felt for years.
So the next time you are going through something bad, don’t bottle it up for fear of looking weak or needy. It really won’t be held against you if you are surrounded by good people. I’m a little surprised and very glad to have found out just how many good people there are working with me in local government.