Posted tagged ‘support’

In need of inspiration

May 17, 2012

If only creative juices were available by the bottle

Some articles we write come easily and flow from mind to fingertips.  Other times however, things are a tad more difficult.  It was as I sat down to write today’s post that I found I was in need of a little inspiration.  I found myself browsing the web, rereading things others have written and researching a few leads I had in the back of my mind.

It was at this point that I was struck by the resemblance of this process to that which I face regularly whilst sitting in the office.  Being known as someone who is ‘creative’ and ‘comes up with ideas’ is both a help and a hindrance, and there have been many times when I’ve found myself in meetings merely to act as a catalyst for thought and discussion or been looked at with expectant expressions after a problem has been presented and a solution requested.

It can feel akin to being told to dance on demand, or demanding that a comedian makes someone else laugh.  The expectation that because they are able to act in a certain way at certain times means they can switch it on or turn it off on demand is overwhelming, and can limit the creativity on offer.  It also puts all onus for creativity or inspiration on a small number of people, taking the burden and expectation off of others to do so.

Often we need a little help to be creative and innovative, and it’s easy to turn to those people you know who fire out ideas (good or bad) like OK magazine throwing out scandals.  But where else can we go for inspiration?  What else is out there to inspire or guide us and to then support us to do things differently or approach a problem from a new angle? (more…)

Being Mindful

July 19, 2011

It's not always easySome of our own posts and our guest posts are a little lighter hearted in nature, dealing with ridiculous dress codes, badly judged e-mails or ways you can identify when you’ve been in local government too long.  We love sharing them too, so if you’ve got something you want to say then e-mail it to us at

However, we are not shy of addressing some more serious issues affecting the lives of local government officers, and today’s guest post does just that.  We hope you read it and understand a little more about the issues it discusses by the end than you might have at the beginning.

Cost.  That has become a bit of a dirty word in the office these days: how much money something costs, how much time it costs, how much energy it costs to get things done.

These costs are generally speaking organisational, and are usually relatively straightforward to quantify.  However, a major area of cost which never finds its way onto any balance sheets is the cost to people, and even when certain costs are accounted for there is one glaring omission – the cost to ones mental health.

Mental health is something so often misunderstood, even by those who mean well.  Some feel they are understanding people, who will do all they can to support someone through their mental health battles with the idea that it can be beaten and overcome, put in the past and moved on from.

Others take the opposite tack, trying to treat them as they would anyone else and not making a big issue out of it in the hope that distraction with other ‘more important and urgent’ issues will put mental health firmly in its place at the bottom of any priority list.

For those of us in local government these are incredibly stressful and difficult times.  Even the most stoic and mentally healthy person can find themselves wobbling at the moment; tempers fraying, long silences growing, work and relationships suffering as the constant and increasing pressures and responsibilities are placed upon them.

For those of us who were fighting mental health problems even during the ‘good old days’ of local government, things can be a fair bit harder. (more…)

It’s nice to be reminded sometimes

April 28, 2011

Thank youAs 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. (more…)