Posted tagged ‘food’


December 17, 2010

We love local government and we also love Christmas!

Christmas is a funny time in all workplaces; and none less so than in Local Government. Here are five things to look out for:

1) Christmas decorations from the last century. Strangely this was happening even before the age of austerity taught us all that recycling was better than aimlessly spending money on such cheerfulness. Often, this is because the decorations have been bought by one or two members of staff and to throw them away would basically be an insult to them. I love this sort of kitsch-ness so would happily use the decorations for the next century: maybe I’ve been in local government too long!

2) Christmas parties will be organised with teams that you probably don’t know and with people you’ve never met. The key determinant here is who the manager (or party organiser) gets along with.  Thus parties involving IT, legal and adults social care are not uncommon. Again, I find this strangely refreshing; am I getting old?

3) Because all people are paying for their own way in these parties there will be disagreements about the type of event should be organised. This will vary from those who want a few drinks and some peanuts in the local boozer all the way through to those who want to do cocktails, dinner, drinks, a show and then some trendy nightclub which we’re all too old for. Inevitably we end up meeting in the middle either through negotiation or because one person simply takes control and decides for us. I prefer it that way!

4) Every member of our team will bring in sweets, crisps, cakes, biscuits, oranges, mince pies, breakfast and any other food with over 100 calories per bite and then share them. Equally, every member will say constantly that they are over-eating but somehow each day the pile of food will be gone ready to be replaced the next morning.

5) There will be a general feeling of goodwill amongst staff. Even this year when nearly everyone I know is under the threat of redundancy Christmas decorations, food and parties have helped lift the spirit of us all. And long may it continue!

We love Christmas!

Binging at the office

September 16, 2010

Just Monday's snacks...

Local Government is a friendly place and like many workplaces there are unwritten rules. One of these involves food.

At the office we’re expected to bring in food whenever we have a birthday or return from a holiday to anywhere that is outside a 30 mile radius of the office. It may not have escaped your notice that local authority workers get lots of annual leave (but strangely only one birthday per year) and this leads to an almost endless supply of biscuits, cakes, doughnuts and chocolate piling up on the cabinet by my desk.

This poses an almost daily challenge; how much to eat; how to stay healthy in the light of all the food; how to pretend that the Sardinian crackers don’t taste of feet; how to remember which member of staff to thank for all the starch, fat and sugar that is sitting taunting you each day.

However, all of these pale into insignificance when the challenge of being the feeder in this particular abusive relationship.

Whether overseas or in Devon’s finest souvenir shop or in the local supermarket (on your own birthday!) this is no easy matter. Do you go overboard and buy lots of sweet snacks for the hungry hoards? Or is it time to buck the trend and buy something healthy for everyone to eat? Or is that against the point? (someone once bought humus and breadsticks… It didn’t work!) Finally, how much to spend? It is my birthday but I don’t want to appear cheap; or needy?

The end result of all this thought is that you buy junk food in such large quantities that everyone eats their body weight in chocolate crispy cakes and then feels bad about it all afternoon.

Not to worry; we’ll forget all this tomorrow and enjoy the latest batch of Polish Jammy Dodgers and birthday battenburg.