In which I contemplate the year ahead …

For as long as I can remember in my professional life each January 1st found me without any great curiousity about the year to come. If you think the world will keep turning and keep its same old shape. If you’re happy and those you love are happy and healthy too, introspection seems pretty self-indulgent.

January 1, 2010 was different though. A year ago I was a mightily worried man. Mrs RPS had been ill since September with no specific diagnosis apart from it possibly being cancer, her heart or something neurological. For the first time in ages we began a year with more fear than hope.

Wonderfully all came right and Mrs RPS was fighting fit again – sort of – by April. Just as we were finding our lives returning to normality a new shadow appeared. The election was coming and everyone was talking about deficit reduction. (Albeit in coded ways that would make Bletchley Park veterans proud.)

The election came and all that has since flowed from it for us as a family and, we know, for many of you.

My point is, I suppose, that what you are worried about now may well not turn out to be the ‘thing’ you really should be worried about. Events, dear readers, events.

So this morning while I am obviously worried about my employment situation or, more accurately, my soon-to-be-unemployed situation a small part of my grey cells are whirring on a different track. They’re wondering what is lurking out there in the undergrowth of 2011. What will leap out at a most unexpected moment and take a big piece out of the RPS trouser seat?

If I have learned anything from 2010 it’s that it is all too easy to become complacent. To fall into the trap that because something has always been this way it will continue to be so. For many of us in the public service and the people who have depended on us times will be changing quickly.

Without wanting to get too apocalyptic about the future it seems to me that four horsemen will stalk our year. Each bearing the banner of their creed.

Here is, ‘In this economic climate …’ the parent of whole tribe of irrational decisions whose progeny will haunt the years ahead.

Here is, ‘There is no alternative …’ the rationalisation of first resort of any creature damned by its nature to prey on the weak and vulnerable.

And look, here is, ‘Think the unthinkable … ‘ advocating change that touches no one close to them, only people seen as categories rather than individuals.

Finally, bearing the gaudiest banner of all is, ‘We are all in this together …’ The brightest banner for the daftest claim.

At least with the orginal four horsemen you knew exactly where you were: conquest; war; famine; and, death. They really do what they say on the tin, don’t they? With little room for spin or ‘interpretation’.

Despite all of this I begin 2011 with the jaunty air of a bloke who, while hoping for the best, is very much planning for the worst. My only worry is that even my fevered imagination hasn’t conjured up an accurate picture of what the worst might look like.

Give me time though.

About redundantpublicservant

A redundant UK public servant looking for work, sharing his experiences and providing a space for others to do the same.
This entry was posted in 2011, bad news, Coalition, CSR2010, Public sector, Public service, Redundancy, war on the deficit and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to In which I contemplate the year ahead …

  1. Happy New Year – hope it all turns out well for the RPS family. Sometimes the best opportunities come from threats or being shaken outside the comfort zone. Love the blog – great idea – hope it helps find a really positive way forward 🙂

  2. Mean Mr Mustard says:

    “only people seen as categories rather than individuals”

    That rings so very true in the deeply stratified part of the CS which I used to inhabit. It seemed that nobody talked to anyone more than two grades below or above their own. (I suspect we might be several grades apart, but thankfully it’s all open and inclusive here).

    Being a foreteller of doom, distrustful of baseless cheery optimism, meant I was prepared for the ongoing collapse, but being a soothsayer – woe, woe, and thrice woe – it does mean even people at your own grade avoid talking to you. Do you really want to truly contemplate the future?

    Are you considering any New Year’s Resolutions, RPS?

  3. Joanna says:

    Wishing you all the best for 2011, RPS. I’ve been enjoying your blog for a few weeks now and look forward to reading more.

  4. Maggie says:

    Just wanted to wish you and your Family a very Happy New Year.

    And to say how very much I agree with you about your 4 horsemen. As someone on DLA I am one of those disabled likely to lose out in the changes to come. But I am one of the fortunate ones, as am now on my pension, so at least won’t be losing the Incapacity Benefit that many ill and disabled folks will be losing over the next few months due to the draconian changes in the rules.

    Best wishes and thank you.

    • Dear Maggie,

      Thank you for reading the blog and taking time to comment.

      Your comment chimes so much with what I am hearing from colleagues, from friends and even from strangers I hear talking on public transport. 2011 is a year many people are approaching with dread.

      Hoping that something won’t be as bad as you fear feels like such a small expectation but it’s about as much as some folks dare hope for.

      I hope 2011 is kind to you and all you love.

      Best wishes


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