Yesterday (6 September) I got my first comments on the blog. I was bemused to read a reference in one of them about following a link to me from Society Guardian. So I tracked it down. Sure enough on the Society Daily page Patrick Butler had given me my first review.
“A promising looking blog from a victim of public spending cuts.”
It’s been a while since I’ve been described as promising so I preened for a moment or two. But then I thought more deeply about the ‘victim’ tag particularly in light of some comments from a fellow public servant about the financial upsides of redundancy for some in the public sector. I began to feel uneasy about being thought of as a victim but couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason.
So I started with some basics. Borrowing my daughter’s Compact Oxford English Dictionary for Students I looked victim up.
“Victim noun 1 a person harmed or killed as a result of a crime or accident 2 a person who has been tricked 3 an animal or person killed as a religious sacrifice.”
I did a quick stocktake. Crime or accident? Nope. Tricked? Hardly. Killed? No, still here. So no wonder I was struggling with the victim label.
I re-read my posts trying to create a picture of me from them. Was I depicting myself as a victim? It was a salutary experience.
Eventually I cam back to my first post where I set out what I was trying to do. I wanted to share hints and tips, experiences (funny and horrendous) and talk about how it feels to go through redundancy after such a long period in one organisation. Looking across all the posts I think I’ve sometimes been a bit melancholic but I hope I’ve avoided being self-indulgent.
In my first post I made the point that I’m only going through what hundreds of thousands of others have gone through and will go through. And I made the point that I feel luckier than most. But gearing up and getting psychologically ready for something new can be hard and I want to reflect that without special pleading or demanding sympathy from anyone. Indeed many of the guides for coping with change talk about the importance of a positive frame of mind. It’s a belief I share.
In my work I had the privilege of getting to know some of our service personnel. Whatever their circumstances they reminded me of our of my family’s old army maxims. FIDO. F— It Drive On. A useful frame of mind that’s got me through many sticky times. So I’ll keep driving on and I’ll share what happens in my world as I go.