How to survive the local gov plane crash
Last week I saw a link to what looked to be a very interesting article on a community of practice I’m part of. It was titled ‘How to survive a plane crash’, and showed up as having several replies already.
Wow, I thought, this could be interesting. Obviously they must be using a plane crash as a metaphor for local government, and its crash as the financial challenges councils are facing up and down the country. This must be a guide to how to survive your career in a situation where the plane looks like it’s going down in flames and might crash and burn any day now.
So I clicked on the link and signed in to the CoP, navigating directly to this potential treasure trove of advice and guidance and expecting a certain degree of enlightenment.
Only to find a picture of a plane, and advice on where to sit in case it crashes.
I may have been expecting too much, but the advice wasn’t even particularly good, apparently just sit at the back. However, it’s inspired me to produce our very own WLLG guide to how to survive the local government plane crash.
Step 1: Identify your exits
Make sure you identify a potential exit route as soon as you board the plane. Some seats have several exits equidistant, so be sure to decide which is the best for you.
Translation: even on your first day, know what you want out of your job and how it will improve your chances of building your CV to secure the next job you want. If you want to stay in the same field then what work will give you the best experience at this level, if you want to eventually move on to another area then look at how you can develop those transferable skills.
Step 2: Oxygen masks
In the event of an emergency oxygen masks will descend from the ceilings. Be sure to fasten your own mask before helping others.
Translation: there will be some things that every local government organisation will be able to do to help you if it looks like you are on your way out. Some might offer specific training on CV writing or interview skills, others might be able to help you actually identify positions. Make sure you grab these opportunities with both hands and take advantage of them while you still can. And be sure to think about your needs selfishly; odds are everyone else will be doing the same!
Step 3: Assume the position
If warned, simply place your head between your knees and make yourself small. If asked to leave the plane, remove any loose clothing and high heels, then cross both legs and exit the plane safely.
Translation: make sure you aren’t hurt. Don’t take it personally; it rarely is, no matter how much it feels otherwise. Remember that plenty of other people are going through it, and focus on the fact that you will get out of it alive. Position yourself so you can get out as easily as possible by having plenty of conversations with colleagues, making use of any information you have available and focussing on your own needs as much as possible.
Step 4: Buouyancy aids
If the plane lands in water you will find emergency buouyancy aids located under your seat. These can be topped up through a convenient blow hole and have a handy whistle and light attached.
Translation: someimtes things aren’t just bad; they’re terrible. If you find yourself thrown in at the deep end be sure to remember that you’re not alone, and that others will be willing to help you stay afloat. Keep in touch with contacts and friends and take their advice and support whenever it’s offered. And use them to advertise your presence to others, it’s surprising how many opportunities arise because a freind of a friend hears of someones plight and sends on an interesting e-mail or link.
Step 5: Accept it
Whilst all this advice is well intentioned, sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and hope. Sometimes things don’t turn out so well, but statistically speaking the overwhelmiong majority of people come out of a plane crash with nothing but a few bumps and bruises. It might seem scary at the time and will be something you may very well wish to forget, but the best way of getting through it is to grit your teeth and see it through.